March Art Talk at the Kimball will feature young authors | ParkRecord.com

March Art Talk at the Kimball will feature young authors

In January, the sixth-grade language art students from Ecker Hill International Middle School were asked to write stories about shoes from the perspective of shoes.

The assignment was inspired by the Kimball Art Center’s "The Perfect Fit: Shoes that Tell the Stories" exhibit that runs through April 3. The display features shoes that artists have reworked and sometimes rebuilt with metal, wood, glass and paper.

More than 100 stories were written and printed in a self-published book.

Ten of these young authors will read excerpts from their stories during the Kimball Art Center Art Talk on March 24.

The authors are Lyndsey Butler, Ashley Farquharson, Alexia Gardner, Sam Jackenthal, John Luebbers, Noah Meyer, Jayne Moyes, Andrew Robinson, Kylie Schwalbe and Trinity Smithers.

"I tried to encourage students to think creatively and out of the box," said instructor Deborah DeKoff about the assignment. "Choosing an inanimate object like a shoe allowed students to think more creatively and divergently than if they were writing from a realistic perspective."

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After examining their own shoes and looking at various types of shoes in photographs, books and on the Internet, students "became the shoe," DeKoff said.

"Whether they chose to become a Southern talking cowboy boot, a pretty pink ballet slipper, or a nasty pair of Nikes, the goal was to make the shoe come alive," she said.

Throughout the project, students were taught how to integrate various literary devices in their stories, DeKoff said.

"From the simple simile and metaphor to adding ellipses, students learned what good writers do and applied them into their stories," she explained. "Also, there was no limit to how many pages a story could be, which allowed their minds to truly take them on a journey.

"One story came in at 100 pages," DeKoff said. "The average, however, hovered around 14 pages."

Alexia Garner, 11, whose story is about shoes who time travel, said she learned a lot from DeKoff while doing the assignment.

"She taught us about dialogue and other literary devices," Garner said. "She made us think and come up with better puns."

Twelve-year-old Lyndsey Butler, who wrote a story about a cowboy boot that tries to find its way back to his owner, and Trinity Smithers, 11, whose story is about a pair of shoes that escape the closet, haven’t seen the Kimball Art Center exhibit.

"I was excited to do this because I want to see the shoes," Butler said. "It’s fun to create and express yourself through writing and artwork."

"I hear they are really cool looking," Smithers said about the shoes. "I think art shows different ways how people view the world."

Ashley Farguharson, 12, whose story is about a combat boot that is buried in the snow by a dog, said art is important because it helps her learn about others.

"It’s spontaneous and creative and it can represent real things that are important to the person who makes it," she said. "I really like writing and art."

Kimball Art Center’s Art Talk, "If These Shoes Could Talk," featuring excerpts from stories by the Ecker Hill International Middle School sixth grade language art class, will be held at the Kimball Art Center, 638 Park Avenue, on Thursday, March 24, at 6 p.m. Admission is free.

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