Budding artists featured in Blue Foot Cafe

Feb 3, 2024

There’s always new art displayed in the Blue Foot Cafe each month, but this February, the Cafe is featuring some never-seen-before works by new up and coming artists. 

These artists may be new to craft, but their skills are clear to all. 

Dozens of art pieces made by students at Wareham Middle School are now on display, showing off a number of the units the art classes have covered so far this year, including mediums such as graphite, watercolor, yarn and oil pastels. 

A reception was held for families to celebrate and the public to meet with these budding artists on Saturday, Feb. 3.

Seventh grader Hayden Johnson had an oil pastel piece on display. In the picture, a blooming red rose takes center as the sun sets on a desert scene. 

According to Johnson, the picture was inspired by the works of American painter Georgia O'Keeffe.

Johnson explained O'Keeffe is known widely for her paintings of skeletons, landscapes and close-ups of flowers. 

He added she is also known for having lived in the desert, which is what inspired his picture’s landscape in addition to the warm color choices. 

Johnson said he doesn’t plan to pursue art as a career and enjoys doing it for fun as a hobby. 

While his own personal style doesn’t exactly match that of O’Keefe’s, he does enjoy incorporating “cool elements” into his stick figure drawings. 

Johnson said it was “pretty cool” to have his work on display for the public.

Cynthia Gedraitis, an art teacher at the middle school, said for those pieces, the students used black glue for the outline.

“It's a fun way of containing the medium for kids,” Gedraitis said. “I really appreciate it because if you could use watercolor — you could use tempera paint. We happened to be using oil pastel on this one that they created.”

The catch is the glue sits overnight and sometimes it travels across the page, slightly changing the shape, Gedraitis explained. 

“The glue has a mind of its own at times,” she said. “I tried to teach the kids to accept it and still create and add onto that.”

Gedraitis said she and the Unified Arts Department Chair Andrea Ericson wanted to find new ways to display student art for the public after their success during the Covid pandemic. 

During the pandemic, the art department printed out student work on 100 lawn signs to hold an outdoor show. The signs were then repurposed for other displays.

“We had such a positive response to that, that we wanted to find other ways to start bringing the kids' artwork out into the community,” Gedraitis said. “This worked great. It was really receptive.”

Ericson and Gedraitis had the idea to organize the show at the Cafe after noticing art on the walls while getting coffee there recently. 

"The students have worked so hard during class to create pieces for this show," Ericson said. "I can't wait to share their art with the community."

Gedraitis said, "Our students' art is a blend of their personal feelings and moods combined with what they've learned in class. It's great to see them develop their own styles and feel confident in putting their work on display for others to share and appreciate."