PES celebrates fine arts

Juanita Johnson-Archie, the Patch Elementary School art teacher, puts the finishing touches on the Night of the Arts art exhibit May 15. Photo by Jennifer Veale.

Juanita Johnson-Archie, the Patch Elementary School art teacher, puts the finishing touches on the Night of the Arts art exhibit May 15. Photo by Jennifer Veale.

By Jennifer Veale
Special to The Citizen

Chaos and clamor are normally part and parcel of family nights at elementary schools, but that wasn’t the case at Patch Elementary when the school recently hosted two major art events in one evening May 15, a de facto night of the arts.

Instead of commotion, parents and children sauntered quietly though the gymnasium which had been transformed into a little Louvre with more than one thousand pieces of work on display.

The collection included paintings, drawing, ceramics, mosaics, weavings and digital graphics created by students as young as six years old.

The school’s art teacher, Juanita Johnson-Archie, said she wanted to give parents and the community the opportunity to celebrate students’ artwork in a more formal setting. Johnson-Archie collected artwork throughout the year, making sure every student had a piece of work displayed for the exhibition. Her love of art resonated throughout the exhibition, as did her hope to have students express themselves through art.

A stone’s throw away in the Forum, some 22 singers from the Patch Elementary School chorus lifted the spirits of an appreciative audience with a thoughtful program that included African songs such as “Tue Tue,” Judy Garland’s signature song “Over The Rainbow,” “Song of Peace,” “Drill Ye Tarriers, Drill,” and the spiritual choral score “Goliath.”

Dressed in black and white, the third- to fifth-graders showed no sign of stage fright as they followed the conductor, delivering natural resonances during the school’s second annual spring concert.

The PES chorus also performed at the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart holiday party at the Patch Community Club last December.

“It is thrilling to conduct the students during a performance such as this,” said Andrew Lesko, the school’s music teacher, at the spring concert. “The students’ hard work and dedication pays off.”

Following the performance, the students headed straight for a tastefully decorated reception table chock full of donated baked goodies and drinks.