14 x 4
Photos by Hailie Monkarsh
You would think that when fourteen 4-year-old preschoolers, from The Sandra & Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center (Temple Beth Sholom Preschool), painted water-based colors with striped brushwork on paper – each would eventually be attached, with a magnet, to 14 home refrigerators, right?
All 14 paintings on paper (made with parent participation) now hang as part of a special exhibit at the Summerlin Library. The Library kicked-off this exhibition with a “rock star-like artists reception” that included the 4-year-old artists themselves, along with entertainment by Melanie Ron of “City Music Lights Together,” parent Mariano de Yorio, a former “Cirque de Soleil” performer, and preschool teacher Mr. Chris West. The works are mounted on a 21’ x 4’ site-specific canvas created by a parent and Las Vegas artist Patricio Solis. The site-specific canvas illustrates a muted, rainbow background with 14 multi-colored child-like figures dreaming of silver-lined clouds. Each preschooler’s painting is attached to one of 14 silver-lined canvas clouds. The 14 works on paper and the entire installation will be on exhibit through the month of July.
The hullabaloo isn’t about a little hand dipping a paint brush into a bowl of colorful paint then swiping the paint brush, creating watery stripes, across the paper. It’s more, and oh, it’s so Vegas …
Temple Beth Sholom Preschool teachers Mr. West, Mrs. Wineinger and Mr. Wardle, were teaching their 4-year-olds the curriculum for artist week. According to Mr. West, “We expose our 4-year-olds to artists like Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso.” Mr. West explains that they wanted to do a meaningful, hands-on art project with parent participation. Creator of just such an art project in 2015, parent volunteer Desiree Dawn Solis, came to the rescue. She wanted to design a painting project “of today” versus one that is historical. According to Solis, “I wanted to parlay the pride of Las Vegas localism into our art project.”
Solis explains, “As a University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) art graduate, who studied under renowned art critics Libby Lumpkin and Dave Hickey, I thought, where is our local hero representation?” She adds, “Where are all the native sons and daughters of Vegas fame, the localized greats of OUR time? Of our children’s time? Of course, my first thought was visual artist Tim Bavington, and local band Imagine Dragons.”
Thus, a brainstorm of a parent volunteer (Solis) for a parent participation art project influenced by a Las Vegas artist and a Las Vegas alt-rock band for a preschool class of 4-year-olds located in a Summerlin Conservative synagogue … is born.
The first of the Las Vegas influences is the artwork of Tim Bavington, a UNLV M.F.A. alumnus who is a locally-based, internationally-acclaimed fine artist. Bavington is best known by Las Vegans for his large-scale installation at Spago’s in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace and the sculptural installation, “Pipe Dreams,” on the lawn of The Smith Center. Solis explains that Bavington uses rock-n-roll as his muse of choice and paint as his artistic voice; each chord, note and/or guitar solo is given a color, then the compositional “pattern of music” is vertically sprayed onto his canvases.
The other Las Vegas influence comes from the locally-based Imagine Dragons. Known for their 2014 Grammy Award-winning single “Radioactive,” this alt-rock band made their major-label debut with the 2012 breakthrough single “It’s Time.” The chorus of this song also acted as an inspiration for the children’s paintings.
A little hand is dipping a paint brush into a bowl of colorful paint, then swiping the paint brush across the paper. Why is it more?
Picture this: In the classroom, “It’s Time” plays in the background. Reproductions of Tim Bavington’s art work decorate the bulletin board for inspiration. The teachers encourage the preschoolers with compliments. Parents help, with new found knowledge about how our culture informs the content of music and art. Maybe it’s only the parents who “get” it – the watery-colored stripes represent musical chords.
But why is it more? Well,…it’s not about the paint.
It is the act of sharing “the moment” with a child. It’s the act of giving time, sharing knowledge and special skills with those who do influence our children. Preschool teachers and administrators understand this. So do the rest of us.
Yet to initiate and follow-through on the act of sharing “the moment” with a child, involving a preschool classroom of 4-year-olds, their teachers, parents, and a library art exhibit while learning about a Las Vegas artist and a Las Vegas alternative rock band - just seems to be something … more. And “more” is something so very Vegas.
The Sandra & Stanley Mallin Early Childhood Center at Temple Beth Sholom has earned their second accreditation from The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) – the nation’s leading organization of early childhood professionals – and have been awarded a 5-Star Rating by the Quality Rating & Improvement System (QRIS), the highest rating awarded by the Nevada Department of Education.
The early childhood center provides students the opportunity to reach their fullest individual potential by engaging them in age-appropriate academics and socialization activities. The curriculum encourages a love of learning while respecting the individual needs of each child.