Juliet Moradian is hoping to bridge the gap between generations — and cultures — with the universal language of art. She advocates for art education starting with preschool age children, and has found that language barriers seem to fade away when people gather to appreciate visual art.
The local art teacher is holding an exhibition on Saturday titled "The Experiment" that features works done by her students, who range in age from 4 to 23.
"Visual art should be considered important, just like dance and music, and you shouldn't put an age on it. Art is one of the ways to stop the limitations of activities of children," Moradian said.
Moradian's youngest student, Breteel, 4, will have her work framed and put on display, alongside the other works done by artists much older. When Breteel started art classes a year ago, she was too shy to talk, said Moradian. On Wednesday, the Crowell School Head Start student was able to say which of her works her favorite is and what it represents.
Breteel attends weekly art lessons with her sister, Bblina, a 3rd grader at Dennis Earl Elementary. Bblina's favorite piece that will be displayed on Saturday is a painting of a spruce tree at Crane Park. She said taking classes with Moradian is different than doing art in school because, "I use paint instead of colored paper and scissors."
Bblina is one of Moradian's students who first started lessons through a program at Mar Addai Assyrian Church of the East. Although she no longer teaches the art workshops through the church, Moradian is still passionate about exposing children "to their individuality through art" — especially those who recently immigrated to this country.
"Kids are already depressed because they left their countries," said Moradian. "When people gather at an art show, all of sudden the culture barriers fall and everyone likes everyone."
Moradian herself immigrated to America from Iran at a young age. She returned to Iran to attend the Art High School in Tehran, but her need to explore her creativity would keep her on the move to locations around the world. Among her travels, she has studied at the Art Students’ League in New York; the French Beaux in Paris; and the Academy of Arts in Tehran. She also took fashion design courses in London.
Some of Moradian’s own work will be on display at the Saturday exhibit.
"The Experiment" will be on display from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Turlock Community Art Gallery, located inside the Rex Klein Insurance Office at 132 S. Center St., Turlock. Some of the works will be for sale, with proceeds helping to further art education.