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Young Artists Turn Greenburgh School into Gallery

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Six-year-old Emily Pagan points to a crayon-and-paint drawing that pictured her between her mom and her dad, the three standing on the grass with a tree at each side.

“I kind of made little dots, rainbows,” she said, referring to the colorful patches that arched over them.

Emily, a first grader at Lee F. Jackson Elementary School, made her family portrait during art with teacher Dawn Weiss. The drawing is one of the 100 works that will be displayed for a year at the administrative building of Greenburgh Central 7 school district. The district held a reception Tuesday night to open the display, inviting students, parents and teachers.

“We just like to give the students the opportunity to exhibit, to show their work, to express themselves,” said Miriam Bernabei, the district’s director of arts, adding that the same works were displayed at the Greenburgh Public Library in April and a selection of them were at the Greenburgh Town Hall in May.

Weiss, who teaches at both the Lee F. Jackson and Highview schools, has been a teacher in the district for 17 years. However, her history there goes back much further.

“I actually teach in the room where I took the kindergarten arts class,” she said.

Weiss climbed the stairs to the second floor and went around the room, showing the many pieces that crowded the walls. She said they work with different materials in the school, such as feathers, cotton, cloth and paper.

“Whatever you can feel, touch and glue,” she said. “We really get children to experiment a lot of different things, and find what they really love.”

On the other side of the room, there were more family portraits like Emily’s. Weiss said she asks her students to do self-portraits too, one each year so they can compare.

“It’s amazing how much the drawings change,” she said. “It’s a really great evaluating tool to see how they are progressing as an artist.”

Emily’s mother Idanise Pagan said she is very happy with the school’s program and that it impresses her that each student is known by name.

“There are so many kids and they know each and every one,” she said.

She said she has a younger daughter, Elena, 3, but that she was missing in Emily’s drawing.

“There was only room for three people in my family,” Emily said. “Because the trees were in the way.”

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