Palm View teacher inspires young artists- Art Show Coming Soon

2016/05/02

Palm View teacher inspires young artists

Art teacher Omarr Otero is shown in his classroom at Palm View Elementary School, 6025 Bayshore Road, Palmetto. Artwork by 150 of his students, and a few pieces by him, will be in a show at Palmetto Historical Park.

STAFF PHOTO / CHRISTI WOMACK

Facts

Interested?

What: “Robots and Recycling” show featuring artwork by Palm View Elementary students and their art teacher, Omarr Otero.

Where: Palmetto Historical Park, 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto.

When: Opening reception from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday; exhibit will remain on view through May 27 from 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday (also Saturday, May 21).

Why: All artwork will be available for purchase with proceeds to the school’s art program.

Admission: Free. RSVP for the reception to tori.edwards@manateeclerk.com or call 941-723-4991.

For the moment, his Palm View Elementary students are painting sugar skulls that they will decorate for the school’s Cinco de Mayo celebration Thursday. A kiln that became operational this year allows them to fire ceramic leaf prints that, with a hole punched in one end, will become a necklace with the addition of a piece of twine. Small paintings are done on recycled wallpaper or cardboard from boxes.

Recycling both stretches the teacher’s budget and teaches children how to repurpose materials and transform them into art. He teaches them patterns through repetition and about abstract art, still lifes, cubism and Picasso. They all must love “Star Wars,” or at least pretend they do.

“I want them to work beyond their age,” said Otero, who has been at the school for two years and also teaches photography and painting at his alma mater, Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota.

The best works by 150 of his students will be on view at the Palmetto Historical Park in a show that opens with a reception Saturday and continues through May 27.

Oteros teaches art to 270 students in 21 classes.

Otero, his wife, Krista, who teaches at the State College of Florida Collegiate School, and their 18-month-old daughter, Carly, are heading this summer to Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras, where he will teach art to International Baccalaureate high school schools. Krista will teach language arts to those in middle school.

With proceeds from the show, Otero hopes to leave the art program in good financial shape for the person hired to replace him. His budget this year was about $200.

“So maybe they can have a big budget here next year, so they can do more clay work and printing,” he said.

The Palm View art exhibit also is a chance to get people into the park who would not necessarily know what it has to offer. It is increasingly difficult to find funding for field trips to the park, curator Tori Chasey Edwards said. While the programs are free, busing for students averages about $10 a child. For Title I schools like Palm View, where more than 70 percent of the children live in poverty, field trips do not fit in a budget.

By collaborating with Otero, Edwards said, students will get a chance to see what a real art show is like while also introducing them to the park’s permanent exhibits about North Manatee history. A simultaneous hands-on exhibit currently on view introduces visitors to inventor Powel Crosley Jr. and what a World War II military camp might look like.

Although the work of 150 students will be shown, Edwards said most of the pieces are small and fit nicely in the museum, where patrons will be offered cheese and crackers and cookies, just like at a real art show.

“We want the kids to be able to point at their artwork and say, ‘See what I did,'” Edwards said.

And those pieces that sell?

Otero promised to photograph each one so the young artists have a memento of their very first art show sale.

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