Fifth grade art show March 31 at Birchland Park Middle School
Date: 3/22/2010 March 22, 2010
By Debbie Gardner
Assistant Managing Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW - According to pop icon Andy Warhol, everybody gets 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime.
Fifth grade art teacher Therese Moriarty gives her Mapleshade and Mountain View elementary school students an hour.
On March 31 from 6 to 7 p.m. Moriarty and her students will present the tenth annual Grade Five Art Exhibit at Birchland Park Middle School.
The gallery-style free event, which this year showcases the artwork of over 200 students and will include both music courtesy of the fifth grade band and refreshments courtesy of parent volunteers, is open to family, friends and the general public.
Just like a real gallery opening, attendees will be invited to sign the show's guest book. If they wish, they can also write notes about individual pieces that will later be delivered to the artists.
"Last year we had over 600 people attend," Moriarty told Reminder Publications
. "I don't know from year to year what kind of success it's going to be until that night."
According to Moriarty, she was inspired to create this type of event a decade ago by memories of her own first exhibit as an art student.
"I remember . how excited I was and I wanted to share [that] with the kids. Most of them will never have this experience again unless they become an artist," she said.
She started with individual shows at each school, then moved to the high school to increase the display space.
About six years ago the exhibit and attendance grew so large that Moriarty moved the show to the lobby and cafetorium at Birchland Park.
As if they were attending their own gallery opening, Moriarty said she instructs each year's group of budding artists to "dress up, because I tell them artists dress up [for an opening]."
"I see them [later] out at stores with their folks getting their outfits. They're so excited," Moriarty added.
When the show moved to Birchland Park, Moriarty said she also approached Ann Grossi, music and band teacher for the two elementary schools, about the possibility of adding a live musical element to the annual event.
"The last year I did [the show] at the high school I had my stereo boombox on full blast and you could barely hear the music," Moriarty said.
Grossi quickly agreed.
According to Grossi, this year's musical interludes will feature students playing chamber-music style instruments flute, clarinet and trumpet.
"It's an exciting night," said Grossi. "We play short songs from their lesson books. Students from Mapleshade play half of the time, and Mountain View the other half."
And though her young performers have only been playing their respective instruments since September, she said they do "a wonderful job."