For the last six weeks, 16 art students, ages 6 to 12, were taught to construct 3-D sculptures, paintings and drawing techniques in an effort to raise awareness for the arts within the community.
Raquel Donbatalla, a UC Merced graduate of history and art and mentor for the students, said it was a pleasure working with the youth, who offered insightful ideas and helped launched an initiative and respect for the arts.
“Aside from Patterson Repertory Theatre’s annual Art and Wine Gala, which is one of the other well-known groups in town, there are not many art programs in town,” said Donbatalla. “This gives many kids a chance, from younger age groups, to have something to practice and do with their time. Even though the program is over, some students have asked for art lessons at home.”
Fifth-grader Mary Mourtazo, 11, of Apricot Valley Elementary School said she had a great deal of fun joining the class and felt the best part about creating art was the sculpting project, which happens to be Donbatalla’s forte.
The children were granted napkins, tape and plaster gauze to hold together their statue, which often resembled marine-like features. Many also plastered their hands as well, which delighted many parents. They felt the project was similar to caster molds that may be hung in the bedroom to connote how small their child has once been.
The kids, however, felt the molds to be a messy, fun ordeal.
“I liked the project because I was able to enjoy something that I made,” said Mourtazo. “It’s a lot of fun! Miss Raquel is a very great teacher!”
Mourtazo’s classmate, Maria Martinez, 10, said she had never taken an art class before and usually preferred to play soccer. But her outlook changed quite a bit by the end of the program.
She said the constant competition out on the soccer field worried her parents to no end, but being inside and creating a masterpiece made their entire family a little more at ease.
“I finally got to do something my parents would approve,” she said with a grin. “I liked it a lot. I was most happy accomplishing something I’ve never done before at home.”
Other students like 7-year-old Diego Ambriz, a first-grader at Apricot Valley Elementary, said the event was fun because he liked showing off his work. He said he enjoyed art a lot, and was glad to share his passion with more people.
“I always make art at home,” said Ambriz. “I like making puppets and I like to paint and trace paper.”
Many families entered the Hammon Center with their children in tow and picked up their supplies after the viewing. Many of the drawings showcased line-work, 3-D tracings of Batman and Disney Princesses, as well as pictures of animals or people.
“These kids were absolutely great,” said Donbatalla. “They all wanted to come in and learn. It was exciting to see their reactions when they created something on their own.”
For more information about future art programs, please contact the city of Patterson Recreation Department at 895-8000. Contact Brooke Borba at 892-6187, ext. 24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.