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Walnut families learn, create together at Georgia OKeefe art night
Walnut art pic2
Matthew Yaghoubi, 3, and his mom Jaklin Pourtarvirdi sponge paint a leaf to celebrate fall at the fourth annual Family Art Night at Walnut Elementary School on Thursday. - photo by MAEGAN MARTENS / The Journal

One way to learn about an artist is to try to recreate some of their artwork; copy their techniques and see firsthand how they created some of their famous pieces.

On Thursday, Walnut Elementary School students and their families did just that during the school’s fourth annual Family Art Night featuring artist Georgia O’Keefe.

“The night is a way to explore the types of work an artist does and learn their technique,” said Mary Jo Lee, fifth grade teacher at Walnut Elementary. “It is an opportunity to learn about and celebrate the life of our focus artist.”

Students and their families explored the art work of O’Keefe with sponge painting, water colors and creating tissue paper flowers.

There were different stations set up at the school for everyone to participate in and find their inner artist. There was also a slideshow featuring O’Keefe — her life and her work.

In past years, Walnut Elementary has featured artists Pablo Picasso and Vincent van Gogh at their Family Art Night. The focus artist is picked based on who the students study that year.  

But whoever is chosen as the main artist, parents and students love the night of art and creativity.  

“It is a great night where students aren’t tested,” said Donavan Arnold, fourth grade teacher at Walnut Elementary. “It is a night where they can explore and not be tested on it. This night is for the artist in all of us and a chance for us to develop it.”

Three-year-old Matthew Yaghoubi was exploring his inner artist while sponge painting a leaf with his mother Jaklin Pourtarvirdi on Thursday night.

Pourtarvirdi said Family Art Night really helps her daughter that attends Walnut Elementary do more of what she loves — painting and sharing her works of art.

While students can explore their artsy side, parents also feel like it helps them better connect with their teachers.

“It is a great way for kids to see their teachers outside of the classroom,” said Lori Ford, parent of 2-year-old Isabella Ford who was practicing her water coloring skills. “They can interact with them on a personal level and their participation at this event helps them develop more school pride.”

Through teacher interactions, finding an inner artist or learning more about O’Keefe, students have the opportunity to explore their creative side a little bit more.

“It is great for kids to come to a different area and explore their creativity,” said Julie Areias, mother of 4-year-old Maren Areias who was also using water colors to paint. “It is a time for them to let loose and have a good time.”

To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.