During a recent trip to the Calgary Zoo, Jordan Mackay got to meet her very first giraffe.
“I put my hands on the fence and the giraffe leaned over and licked me,” she said. “It had a bumpy tongue.”
The encounter inspired Mackay, six, to create her piece The Rainbow Giraffe. Hers is just one of the pieces of artwork that will be on proud display in the Nelson Public Library starting on May 22 through to the end of the summer. Mackay’s painting will be accompanied by work from the other students who have taken classes at 4Cats Art Studio in downtown Nelson.
When asked what inspired her to paint the giraffe rainbow-coloured, Mackay shrugged. “I think rainbows are so beautiful.”
Mackay’s fellow student Uniqua Chesney, five, also expressed her enthusiasm for rainbows, and pointed out that her painting features one arcing over her subject, a galloping pink unicorn.
However, though she was wearing a pink shirt and chose the same colour for her recreation of the mythical animal, she clarified that her favourite colour is actually black.
Chesney’s painting, The Unicorn of the Pink, will also be hung in the library for the summer.
When asked what inspired her to paint the unicorn, Chesney smiled shyly. “I have a stuffy one at home and it’s polka dot,” she said.
Both the girls are looking forward to the opening gala on May 22 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
“There’s going to be treats and drinks and juice and stuff. Kids will be there with their families showing off their artwork,” said the girls’ art instructor Eli Geddis.
“This is art they’ve made over the last year,” said Geddis. “It’s really great to hold an event where the young people in the community get to show off their art. Usually it’s work from adults and people from Selkirk, so it’s big to put a spotlight on the little artists.”
Geddis said some of the students are nervous to share their work, and many of them are eager to hang up their art at home instead. Each student involved selected their favourite piece to be included.
“The last time we showed paintings by 4Cats students, the response from kids and parents alike was terrific. Everyone who came into the library loved the bright colours and the wonderful creativity that was displayed,” said Nancy Radonich, the library’s Children Services Coordinator.
Another one of the pieces in the show is titled Spring Robin by five-year-old Townes Nield. Geddis said Nield created the piece during a four-day Spring Break art camp.
Geddis praised Nield’s use of warm tones, and said it took approximately three hours to complete.
“Townes likes painting mostly, and being with other kids excited about art,” said Jenn Pentland, Townes’ mother. She recently bought the studio, and will take ownership on June 1.
“It’s all about being creative and doing things at your own pace,” she said. She praised Geddis’ instructor skills, and said the children of the community appreciate the enthusiasm and structure he brings to the classroom.
“They all love him,” she said.
Pentland said her son ultimately plans to hang Spring Robin on his bedroom wall at home. But first, he has to share it with the community.