Jeffco elementary students display creativity at annual art show

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Down to a fine art

By Corinne Westeman

Whether it’s aspen trees, unicorns, swirls of color or self portraits, local elementary school students have an eye for both the real and imaginary.


Last Friday, they got to share their creative visions with family, friends and fellow artists.

More than 1,000 students’ artwork is now on display at Red Rocks Community College’s Lakewood campus as part of the Jeffco Schools Foundation Elementary Art Exhibition. Every Jeffco elementary school participated with an average of 12 pieces in the show.

On Friday, the exhibition hosted an artist celebration, and the entire grand foyer and accompanying hallways were packed with youngsters and their families. Among them, Parmalee third-grader Owen Offerman was showing his parents his portrait of aspen trees that he painted using newspapers for the bark.

Owen said that he and his classmates were assigned to paint aspen trees, and he eventually got the hang of it. He was proud to see his work on display in the show.

He said he enjoys art, especially drawing, saying that people should know that anybody can do it.

Parmalee art teacher Erin Ratke explained that the students’ artwork was chosen for the show based on which one was judged best for its particular assignment.

“(The exhibition) feeds my passion for teaching,” Ratke said. “Seeing their faces light up when they see their work on display, that their artwork is valued. ... The show is an opportunity for teachers to show the importance of the visual arts and celebrate them.”

West Jefferson Elementary first-grader Evelyn Schulz was happy to talk about her creation — a castle with unicorns flying over it that she had drawn with colored pencils and markers. Evelyn said the assignment was to drawn a castle without messing up the bricks.

Evelyn was happy other people were able to see her art, and that people should try the visual arts because, she said, “You can draw whatever you want.”

Her dad Matt Schulz described himself as a proud dad, saying he enjoyed being able to see what Evelyn created.

“(The students) have more skill than I do,” he said.

In the downstairs hallways, Mortensen second-grader Josie Slat and her parents were looking at her school’s entries, including Josie’s portrait of a fruit bowl.

Josie explained that the assignment was to draw the fruit in Sharpie and then color it in

with paint.

Seeing her artwork on display was exciting, Josie said, because not only was she able to share it with her parents, but with lots of other people too — whether it be other exhibition attendees or community college students.

Red Rocks Elementary third-grader Emerson Heuer stood by her portrait of her chocolate Labrador, Wyatt, saying the assignment was to paint a family member.

Emerson said she enjoys painting because it makes her happy to see her personality in her work and to show other people what she can do.

Her dad Adrian Heuer added that Emerson finds painting relaxing and calming, and that she’s starting to texture her paintings now.

“It’s interesting to see how she perceives things versus how I perceive them,” Adrian Heuer said.

Emerson added that people should consider taking up art, because, “It’s whatever you put your mind to. Try it. It can change your life.”