One-day exhibit only the beginning for Fireweed artists

It isn’t every day an artist is invited to show his or her work in a gallery. Especially artists in kindergarten, first and second grade. However, when 45 Fireweed Academy students were given that opportunity, they were not only quick to accept, but also filled the walls of Bunnell Street Arts Center for a one-day exhibit on Feb. 27.

“It was a really sweet event,” said teacher Kim Fine. “We love opportunities to celebrate with our families and to draw friends and families and kids together to celebrate art.”

The work reflected three themes being studied at Fireweed this year: community, forces and change. The pieces paired photographs of the artists with self-portraits of themselves as babies, teens, adults and elders.

“They fine-tuned the art of jowls and wrinkles,” said Fine, laughing.

Additional creations were accompanied by short pieces of writing, such as Cyrus Wood’s painted landscape: “The wavy ocean crashed against the grey rough boulders on the lonely Aleutian chain.”

Others, like Thea Person, took time to write an artist’s statement, using a third-person voice.

“Thea Person always enjoys creating oil paintings of hummingbirds. Her favorite way to paint is on an easel. One day her mother gave her a set of watercolors. Then, both sank deep into the part of her heart with all the things she loves most.”

“That gave the opportunity for the students to talk about themselves as if they were looking in on their own life,” said teacher John Kulhanek. “They seemed to enjoy that.”

Parts of the show can be seen at K Bay Caffe. On April 4, students of Fireweed Academy perform the musical, “Small Part of the World” at the Homer Theatre at 6 p.m. It includes dance and song from around the world, as well as videos created by the public charter school’s kindergarten through sixth-graders.

It will be quite the extravaganza,” said Fine.

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at