Soaring Wings art on display at the Summit County Library | ParkRecord.com

Soaring Wings art on display at the Summit County Library

At the beginning of the past school year, retired art instructor Diana Harbour approached Soaring Wings International Montessori School to see if they were interested in starting an after-school art program.

They were.

So, Harbour met with students between the ages of 3 and 7 one afternoon a week for one hour and 15 minutes.

"I started out with a class of eight and ended up with a class of 18, which we split up at the end of the year," Harbour said during an interview with The Park Record. "They were delightful students and they worked so hard on the projects."

The hard work paid off, because the students’ works are on display in an exhibit at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 Ute Blvd., through the end of June.

This exhibit is the cumulated work inspired by the artists the students studied, Harbour said.

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"We started with American artist James Rosenquist and looked at his huge, larger-than-life murals and taped some paper and painted over them and then peeled off the tape," she explained.

The students then did another Rosenquist-inspired work that included gluing down some newspaper and magazine images, before taping over them and painting them and pulling off the tape.

"Some of these are fantastic," Harbour said.

Other artists the students studied and emulated include Robert Bateman and Carl Brenders, Henri Matisse and Dale Chihuly.

"I always teach that way," she said. "I handed out cards of paintings by Bateman and Brenders and we looked at the shapes of animals and it was interesting to see how the younger ones grasped the idea."

The challenge was coming up with projects the kids would like, but also be successful doing.

"That’s why I started with more abstract and expressionistic sorts of works," Harbour said. "My goal as an art teacher is always to make sure to give something the students can be successful at, but also something that challenges them."

It’s also important to give the children the opportunity to use the best materials possible to make their art.

"You have to give them the real stuff," Harbour said. "So, we used liquid watercolor and acrylic paints and they had so much fun."

In addition to the artist studies, the exhibit features string art, paper batique and Day of the Dead collages.

Harbour’s two grandchildren Sawyer and Wren Paschel Harbour, ages 6 and 4, were part of the class.

"I like art because it’s so pretty and its fun to do," said Sawyer, whose favorite piece in the exhibit is his watercolor abstract called "The Leo."

"It has the darkest colors," he said. "I didn’t choose them on purpose, that’s the color it made when I put all the different colors together and I used saran wrap and salt to make lines in the paint."

Wren enjoys art for the same reasons her brother does.

"It’s fun to do," she said.

Sisters Elle and Grace Warburton also participated in the after-school sessions.

Grace was 3 and the youngest student in the classes when she started working with Harbour. Her older sister Elle, 7, joined the class halfway throughout the year.

"I liked learning about a lot of kinds of different art and artists," said Elle, who said Chihuly was her favorite artist.

Grace, who is now 4, doesn’t have a favorite artist, but said she loves all kinds of art. She is also especially happy that Elle likes art, too.

"I get to make art with my sister," Grace said.

The Warburtons’ mother, Jill, a professional photographer, said she is so happy Soaring Wings offered the art class.

"Diana is great," she said. "She is really amazing with the kids and helps them appreciate art."

Harbour enjoyed the classes as much as her students.

"This was so much fun for these kids to do this at their age," she said. "It was fun for me as well, because I had usually worked with older kids whose skill sets were totally different."

The Soaring Wings International Montessori School exhibit will be on display at the Summit County Library Kimball Junction Branch, 1885 Ute Blvd., until the end of June. For more information, call 435-615-3900.

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