GCPS puts students' artwork on display

SUWANEE - Lauren Tuitt looked at a ceramic ice cream cone piled high with clay scoops of the frozen dessert.

The pottery looked so real, the 7-year-old Cedar Hill Elementary student said it was making her hungry.

The sweet-looking sculpture is among the hundreds of pieces of student art work on display at Gwinnett County Public Schools' Instructional Support Center in Suwanee. Student creations will be exhibited at the school system's administrative headquarters throughout the month as part of the 29th annual Tapestry display.

"This is art advocacy at its best," Five Forks Middle School art teacher Loria Crews said. "We're all coming together and celebrating the arts."

Hundreds of people visited the Instructional Support Center on Wednesday evening for an opening reception for schools in the Brookwood, Central Gwinnett, Duluth and Peachtree Ridge clusters.

"I think it's a great way to expose kids to the arts," said Suzette Tuitt, Lauren's mother.

The first Tapestry display was held in 1980 in Lawrenceville Elementary's cafeteria, fine arts coordinator Robert Andrews said. The festival has moved several times throughout the years.

"We've really grown from a little cafeteria to this magnificent facility," Andrews said.

Because Tapestry displays the work of children in every grade - kindergarten through 12th - it's a great opportunity for teachers and community members to see how the students' skills develop, Andrews said.

"It's interesting to see the scaffolding curriculum we have ... how one year builds (a foundation for) the next," he said.

Simonton Elementary School principal Dot Schoeller said one of her former students who is now a high school freshman has artwork in this year's Tapestry display. She said she enjoys seeing the students' talents grow each year.

Tapestry is also a great way to celebrate student success. English language learners often find success first in art and music, she said.

"Through the fine arts, they feel success in some areas, and they can build on that," she said.

The current exhibit will be on display until Monday. An opening reception for schools in the Collins Hill, Dacula, Grayson, North Gwinnett and Shiloh clusters is scheduled from 6 to 8 p.m. March 19. That exhibit will end on March 24.

Artwork from students in the Berkmar, Mill Creek, Norcross, Parkview and South Gwinnett clusters was displayed March 3 to 6.