Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Manatee youngsters draw our weather art

Every day, the Bradenton Herald features a Manatee child's drawing for our "weather art" on Page 1A. It's been great fun culling from the creative offerings of our youngsters, who manage to express Florida weather patterns in a million different ways. We get most drawings from classrooms across Manate County. But the feature has prompted many a proud grandparent to submit their pride and joy's fine art.

Well, it's time for the Manatee County Fair, and that always means you can count on a change in the weather. So when we published our weather story this week, I asked the editors to consider getting fair-related art for the daily forecast.

One of our most reliable sources has been Audre Marans, the art teacher at McNeal Elementary School. Sure enough, one call to Mrs. Marans and we now have dozens of joyful drawings -- more than enough for every day of the fair.

I asked Mrs. Marans how she inspired her students.

"That was simple -- we had a great discussion knowing that the county fair was about to open," she said. "What will they see if they go to the fair?"

And all the fun visions are captured in her students' art: rides, tickets, food, the carousel, popcorn, hot dogs, lemonade, pigs, horses, colorful tents...

OK, I can't wait for opening day tomorrow.

Mrs. Marans had one favor: to put in a plug for the survival of arts in the Manatee school system. If you needed proof that the arts should never be optional, keep an eye on our weather forecast. It's a snapshot of a beautiful way for children to express themselves.

Today's art, courtesy of 4th-grader Courtney McLellan:

-- Joan


Anonymous said...

Arts are a vital part of a well-rounded education, there should be no question of how important the arts are to our children. Support the arts in our schools!

Blondell Lehocki said...

You are right. Art is a very important part of a well-rounded education. Art allows an individual the freedom to express their inner self.

As a ceramic artist I have opened my personal studio to the public and will be teaching classes to children and adults.

I have started an "Art For Kids Program" with open enrollment to run over the summer in Myakka City, from my studio in my barn.

I presently am taking donations to help provide funds for the needed supplies. All ages are welcome. If funding is available the studio will sponsor one child to attend for free every six weeks. More days will be offered as the schedule fills. Schedule can be found at:

Blondell Lehocki