By Karen Zautyk
Guess what? There really are dragons. They have wings and fangs and fierce expressions. But if you look in their eyes, you can see they are gentle creatures.
We know all this because we saw the dragons for ourselves, a whole herd (flock?) of them, right outside the main office at Lincoln School on Cross St.
These dragons were made of aluminum cake pans, coffee cup lids, cardboard tubes, egg cartons and innumerable other items one might not expect to be part of a dragon, unless you have a wonderful imagination. And second-graders usually do.
The beasties were part of the school’s annual art show, which spotlights the creativity of Lincoln’s 270 students. Under the guidance of art teacher Regina Green-Paradiso, with assistance this year from Hamilton School art teacher Cienne Keegan, the youngsters in kindergarten through third grade used various recyclable materials — and the aforementioned imaginations — to produce artwork for the show, open to the public last Wednesday evening.
More than 600 people attended the event, which has been held for more than 25 years.
“As always,” said Lincoln Principal Jo Ann Dignazio- Botch, “we were very pleased with our students’ projects and the families’ participation in viewing our show.”
Each class has its own individual project, which incorporates not only art, but other subjects (writing, science, math, etc.) in a cross-curriculum learning experience.
Each of the dragons, for instance, bore a short description written by the child who created it. (“The dragon lived in the castle with fire on it. It was a boy. It was on TV.”)
The finished art is displayed in the school hallways. Near the dragons was a table full of pipe-cleaner sculptures (a monkey with bananas; an octopus catching shrimp in its tentacles; a fierce gray wolf), created by third-graders.
Among the dozens of other exhibits were animal collages, pictures incorporating colorful beadwork, others made with the caps from Magic Markers, potholder looms with beads and string, packing-foam animals, self-portraits (some very Modiglianiesque) and butterfly sock puppets.
Just inside the school’s main entrance is another example of the children’s talents, this display more permanent.
Last year, Green- Paradiso had the students create paintings of endangered species. The finished works have been made into colorful tiles, which were installed at the head of the front staircase last summer. The display is stunning. (Your correspondent thinks individual tiles should be reproduced and sold. Just a suggestion. I’d buy a dozen or so.)
This week, now that the public has seen the art show, all the students will.
Since the children in various classrooms do not necessarily get to visit the other floors of their school, they will be given guided tours- -led by third-graders outfitted with official badges to identify their lofty status and wands with which to point out specific artworks. Perhaps the one titled “The Crazy Cat That Can Fly” or “The Crazy Dinosaur That Barks.” (There’s that imagination again.)
Dr. James P. Doran, Harrison superintendent of schools, offered accolades to Lincoln’s students and staff. The art show project, he told The Observer, is “reflective of everything that goes on in that school. It’s a wonderful learning environment.”
In one of Lincoln’s hallways, there is a poster that reads: “The arts challenge us to think in innovative ways.”
Last week, evidence of that was all around.
(P.S. to Dr. Doran: Think about my selling-the- endangered-species-tiles idea, okay?)