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Published: Wednesday, 3/30/2005

Whitehouse: Guests get involved with students

Teacher Andrea Baker oversees painting on a mosaic tile by Cortney Crable and her mother, Cherise Crable. Teacher Andrea Baker oversees painting on a mosaic tile by Cortney Crable and her mother, Cherise Crable.

The Schnapp family has turned art class into an annual competition.

Jerry Schnapp visited his sixth-grade daughter, Marissa, last week during Fallen Timber Middle School's yearly program that encourages fifth and sixth-grade students to bring a guest to art class. His wife, Lisa, had come to the Whitehouse class earlier in the week and made a mosaic painting. On Wednesday, it was Mr. Schnapp's chance to create a masterpiece with crayons and watercolors.

"We see who does better. I won last year, so I'm under a lot of pressure," he said, carefully using his paintbrush to add color to his drawing of a bee.

For Marissa, who was working on a blue and purple painting of her own, it didn't take long to decide which of her parents earned bragging rights this year.

Marissa Schnapp works with her dad, Jerry Schnapp. Marissa Schnapp works with her dad, Jerry Schnapp.

"His painting is better than my mom's," she said, just before showing her father how to dab away his excess paint with a paper towel.

Fallen Timbers, a school in the Anthony Wayne district, has invited guests into its art classes for about 15 years to celebrate national Youth Art Month. Andrea Baker, the art teacher who initiated the program, said students come to class with parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and even neighbors.

"It think it's neat for people to be able to come in and see school in action," she said. "I always try to have a one-day as-signment that everyone can feel successful at. We're just trying to be creative."

Last week, the students and their guests each made paintings designed to look like mosaics made from dozens of small tiles. Mosaics were common in Greek and Roman art, which is the district's art theme for the year. The amateur artists in Ms. Baker's class drew designs with white crayon and painted them with watercolors. The paint would not stick to the crayon wax, so the paintings had the look of a mosaic.

Shawn Spencer checks out daughter Chloe Spencer's design. Shawn Spencer checks out daughter Chloe Spencer's design.

Shawn Spencer was all smiles as he worked on his painting beside his daughter, Chloe. His design featured a smiley face surrounded by a zigzag pattern, and he chatted with his daughter's classmates while he worked.

"Everyone at the table is helping me out and we're trying to decide what kind of background I need to do," he said. "I'm not really the artist in the family. I'm good at stick figures."

Wayne Carter used his art project to pay tribute to his 30 years as a volunteer firefighter in Berkey while his wife, Jean, and their granddaughter, Jenny Bethel, had an Easter theme for their paintings. Mrs. Carter carefully drew a geometric cross design and Jenny made a multi-colored Easter egg picture.

"I don't get to see my grandparents much," Jenny said. "I usually see them on Sundays, but I've been at dance competitions, like, every week."

Mr. Carter said he enjoyed visiting class, despite his fire truck painting not turning out the way he planned.

"I think I made it a little too small and it's not quite showing up," he said.

Ms. Baker selected several of the mosaic paintings to use in the district's art show in May, and the rest were given to their creators to take home.

For many students and their guests, drawing and painting was only part of the fun.

"It's been about 30 years since I did art like this," said Bob Huntsman, father of sixth-grader Paige. "I just wanted to spend some time with my daughter and see what she's doing in school."

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