A group of Evergreen artists has been commissioned to create art that will adorn the walls of a Denver law firm.
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The artists are collaborating to create 12 canvases of abstract artwork that will hang in the Buchalter law firm’s main office area and conference room. The work — still in the creation phase — contains bright colors accented by pastel crayon drawings.
The artists’ teacher is guiding them through the process, and sometimes it’s challenging to keep them focused, especially considering the artists are first graders at Bergen Meadow Elementary School.
How does a group of first graders become commissioned artists?
Enter Robert Hinckley, who manages the Denver office for Buchalter.
“We needed art for our new office,” said Hinckley, whose daughter is a first grader at Bergen Meadow. “Rather than traditional art, we thought it would be kind of cool and fun to have kids draw or paint the art.”
Hinckley hoped students would experience what professional artists feel when they work on a commissioned art piece.
“We hoped it would be fun for them to do the art knowing it’s going someplace in a law firm downtown,” Hinckley said. “We felt like both sides got a lot out of it.”
On Feb. 13, art teacher Elisabeth Marcus worked with the student artists, explaining the next step in the process. The students in groups of four had already put the first coat of paint on the canvases, and on Monday, their job was to add lines, circles and other shapes to embellish the abstract colors. Then students will be finger painting, layering the colors and shapes.
Marcus told students that professional artist Janet Skates, the artist the students are emulating, was inspired by music, flowers, plants and other artists and noted that abstract art was different than other art forms.
“In math, one plus one equals two,” she said. “In art, you know when you’re done when you feel the ooooooo.”
Every time Marcus showed the class a picture of Skates’ work, they responded quite loudly with ‘ooooooo.’”
First graders Mackenzie Eisele and Shay Spungin worked diligently on the project, saying the designs had to be crazy but not too crazy. Shay added rainbow patterns to part of her artwork.
Mackenzie explained that it was cool to be working on a commissioned artwork, adding, “It feels like you have to do really good (because it’s commissioned). We have to focus.”
Marcus hopes to have a reception in April for the artists, their families and the law firm, and Hinckley hopes the students can eventually visit the law office to see their work hanging on the walls.
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