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BLOOMINGTON — With a blank canvas in front of him, 5-year-old Gregory Fultz had a big imagination and plenty of paint during a special art lesson for his kindergarten class Monday morning at Stevenson Elementary School.

“I’m going to draw something cool,” he said.

Moments later, he took a pencil, drew a face, and then made it come to life with swaths of blue, black and even purple paint.

After all of that, Gregory stood proudly by his painting, but he still had a hard time describing it.

“I’m not sure what it is,” he admitted.

Gregory was one of 18 students in Katharine Corley’s kindergarten class that hosted 13 advanced art studio students from Bloomington High School Monday morning as part of the “K meets 12” project.

The high school art students had an art show in October that focused on items that inspired them. Then, with the assistance of art teacher Monica Estabrook, they turned their attention to creating a program for the kindergarten class, which will result in another art show featuring the artwork completed Monday.

“The high school students sent us a video last week and talked about what inspiration means and how they have done art centered around their inspiration,” Corley said.

“They sent paper bags with a note to their parents explaining the project," she said. "They asked to have the students return with some things around their house that serve as inspirations for the kids.”

Five-year-old Camille Williams brought several items, almost all of them pink in some form. They included a book that she draws in and a plastic fire chief’s helmet.

“I want to draw like that,” she said, after seeing a drawing completed by Braxton Taylor, a BHS senior and one of the leaders on the project.

Camille’s picture included several of her favorite items, most of them colored pink.

Camille Muzzarelli, a BHS junior, served as Camille’s mentor during the 90-minute lesson.

“I enjoy art, but today, I am enjoying being with the kids and interacting with them though this project,” she said. “It gives me a good feeling to see them enjoying the art more and having a great time.”

The kindergarten students will finish the projects they started on Monday, and the BHS students then will prepare them for an art show and will hang those works in the BHS gallery.

“Then, on Dec. 14, we are going to go on a bus to see the show before it opens to the public,” Corley said. “After that, the families, staff and general public will get to see it.

"I think it is going to be very exciting for these kids to see their art portrayed in an art show. There is just something special about seeing something you created hanging on the wall in a public setting for others to see and we want to give that feeling to these students.”

The public viewing will be from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 14.

While the art will be forever, both Corley and Estabrook said the project was more than that.

“It’s a really cool project that promotes art, but gives some great students a chance to mentor with some younger students and share their love of art,” Estabrook said. “Our students really seemed to love this project.”

Estabrook said Corley was the perfect teacher for the project. Corley, who said she wanted to be a kindergarten teacher ever since she was in kindergarten, has a master’s degree in painting and sculpture. Estabrook, meanwhile, is a former art teacher at Stevenson, a school on Bloomington's east side.

The program is a good fit for the students in BHS' Advanced Art Studio class because they learn to curate art shows as part of their curriculum, she added. “It’s great to see the students working together, with art as the focal point.”

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Agriculture Reporter

Agriculture reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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