Young artists thrive at Museum

Published 4:31 pm Saturday, March 10, 2018

Educating and inspiring through art is a goal for professional artist Ted Ellis so when he looked at the entries for the Texas Strong-Gulf Coast Art Show he was amazed.

The entries spoke to him in a way that true art usually does.

“There is such a strong message; strength, hope, it’s powerful and this imagery came from our kids,” Ellis, a New Orleans native and Texas transplant, said while judging entries at the Museum of the Gulf Coast on Saturday.

One of the children’s entries for the Texas Strong-Gulf Coast Art Show at the Museum of the Gulf Coast on Saturday.
Mary Meaux/The News

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Ellis stopped to point out a pencil and watercolor drawing in the ages six and under category titled “Saving Mr. Langer’s Chickens.” The drawing shows a bright orange helicopter pulling a basket up from the floodwaters. Inside the helicopter are a stick figure person and a chicken while below, where water is to rooftops, sits a chicken. Not far away is a boat with a person and animals in it.

Ellis pointed to another young child’s painting titled “Get in the Boat” featuring sad faced people in boats in stormy water.

One of the children’s entries for the Texas Strong-Gulf Coast Art Show at the Museum of the Gulf Coast on Saturday.
Mary Meaux/The News

“You can’t just make this up,” he said of the young children’s artwork that likely depicted scenes from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Carolyn Crump who has her work sold at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. joined Ellis as contest judge. Both Ellis’ artwork and Crump’s, who specializes in fiber art and quilting, was displayed along the main walls.

The teen category was an especially difficult one to judge, he said.

“Emotion is tied to this. This is real, no realer than this and it’s visual,” he said.

While the judges did their work museum curator Sarah Bellian sat against a wall, art supplies nearby, and sketched out flowers and turtles for children as they passed through.

Museum of the Gulf Coast Curator Sarah Bellian, left, draws a cartoon for children during Family Fun Day on Saturday.
Mary Meaux/The News

There were less entries this year than last year but what she didn’t realize at first was that some schools had no art supplies because of Harvey. To help, some of the winners will take home art supplies to help continue fueling their desire at art.

Bellian said she has a friend in the Winnie area that is a teacher at an East Chambers school. That school and others in surrounding areas had water to the eaves of homes. And while homeowners dealt with the devastating flooding, so did the schools.

“Schools too had just as much water,” Bellian said. “What was lost was what teachers had spent years collecting for their classrooms.”

Sayonara Vargas takes a photo of Juanpablo Farias next to the Old Sparks Cabin inside the Museum of the Gulf Coast on Saturday.
Mary Meaux/The News

Elsewhere in the museum children lined up for photos in front of the ‘old Sparks Cabin.’ Girls donned bonnets and aprons while boys grabbed a straw hat and posed in front of the ‘cabin’, which shows life in the late 1800-early 1900s.

Sayonara Vargas took time to snap a pic of Juanpablo Farias and a few other family members. She said she enjoys the museum and likes history.

The Family Fun day at the museum also included a visit by a clown and balloon animals, a free showing of the movie Gnomeo and Juliet, which was directed by Beaumont native and Museum of the Gulf Coast Hall of Famer Kelly Asbury as well as arts and crafts and other activities.