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Local students’ art to be shown in China

June 21, 2011
By GARRETT NEESE - DMG writer ( , The Daily Mining Gazette

HOUGHTON - Drawings made by two Houghton Elementary School students will be part of an exhibit shown at schools in China.

The drawings are part of the 2011 4-H Art Exchange, in which Michigan students swap art with Chinese students.

The students were asked to paint "visual letters," which are designed to tell their stories or represent their feelings.

Artwork from Houghton Elementary School students Connor Hill and Aiolya Zhang are among the 100 pieces picked for the exhibition, which will be shown in schools in Shandong Province. Hill's piece had a visit to Christmas; Zhang's was of fish.

Originating in the state 4-H office, the program has been going on for the past seven years, said local 4-H program coordinator Bertha Rogers.

"Several years ago, a group had gone to China and after they had come back, they had a relatioship built with the people there. The art exchange became part of something we do in Michigan 4-H," she said.

It's quite an honor for the children, Rogers said, and could inspire the children not just to continue art, but to communicate internationally.

"The neat thing with them doing the art is it's different than a written letter but it's kind of the same because it tells a story and it tells the feelings children have on two sides of the globe," she said. "You know what they say - a picture's worth a thousand words."

The art is submitted to the state office, which chooses the pieces to be sent over. Other Copper Country students have been picked in previous years, Rogers said.

Each year when the local groups do the program, they get a kit with pieces done by students in China, Rogers said.

"In doing that, they have photos in there with captions, so students get a sense of the art the Chinese students do, and from there they develop their own," she said.

In addition to the artwork sent to China, pieces by Houghton Elementary School students Helena Huotari, Paisley Schjoth, Logan Sandell, Elisa Erva, Brook Wanless, Maya Stier, Maria Velat, Yash Tiwari were selected to represent their schools and afterschool groups.

The art exchange is an incredibly enriching opportunity for students, said Houghton Elementary School art teacher Melissa Hronkin.

"I've participated for several years now in the collaboration with 4-H and I think it's a great way to get a global perspective on art, and kind of expose the kids to what other children are doing on the other side of the globe," she said. "Ultimately, hopefully it will create a culture for tolerance and understanding through education."



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