New art exhibits at the Jones House
This Friday, April 2, as part of the Downtown Boone Art Crawl, the Watauga Arts Council presents two new exhibits at the Jones House Community Center in Boone.
The Mazie Jones Gallery downstairs is are featuring photography by Brenda Ellis, and the Open Door Gallery upstairs is featuring artwork by the preschoolers of The Children's Council.
Ellis said that photographs have always fascinated her, even as a child watching her father take family portraits. The fact that a simple metal box could suspend moments in time and keep them from being lost forever seemed like magic to her. Sometimes it still does, and that's why she loves taking pictures. Ellis received her first camera at 9 years old and said that looking through a camera lens has opened up another way of seeing the world. It has allowed her to capture unique moments that she might never experience again.
She believes that art is truly a culmination of life experience and therefore a reflection of the person creating it. She has traveled to many picturesque places, as well as her own backyard, and taken photos of the flora, fauna and scenery. She hopes that she can in some small way remind people of how fragile and beautiful the natural world is and the importance of its preservation.
Although Ellis has entered and won competitions, she has never considered a professional career in photography for fear of losing the enjoyment and solace that it provides.
"I try not to take myself too seriously and to have fun with this medium that has added so much to my life," she said.
Ellis does take the medium itself seriously and feels very strongly about not enhancing the pictures she takes with computer programs or any other means. Her motto is, "What I see is what you see."
Brenda believes that success for an artist occurs when the subject is portrayed not as the world sees it, but rather in a way that has not been seen.
"She has certainly accomplished that goal with this exhibit," a spokesperson for the Watauga Arts Council said. "You will be amazed by the interesting subject matter and the artistry when you step into the world seen through the camera lens of Brenda Ellis."
The Open Door Gallery features artwork by the pre-school children of the Children's Council. This exhibit consists of work from 13 early childhood programs in Watauga County. Some are from the "More at Four" programs and some from the community-based child care facilities throughout the area.
The Children's Council's mission is to build upon the strengths of children, families and educators by investing resources, information, and training towards promoting the future health and success of Watauga County children.
The Children's Council has a variety of programs that focus on supporting children from birth to 8 years old, their families and educators. A few of these are "Parents as Teachers," "Child Care Resources & Referral Program," and "Welcome Baby." This agency also works in conjunction with some other agencies such as the local Health Department.
The artwork you will see in the gallery this month is a component of a literacy program, "Raising a Reader." This program provides children with a bright red book bag filled with four award- winning, developmentally appropriate, multi-cultural children's books each week.
Over the course of the program, the families are exposed to a wide range of books, providing them with both a mirror reflecting their own world and a window to the world beyond. The children have been planning and working on their pieces for several weeks and used multimedia to illustrate a favorite book.
There are three-dimensional pieces, wall and/or window hangings, as well as one-dimensional items. This project has provided an opportunity for the children to explore not only the written text of the stories, but also the artistic styles of many great illustrators.
"Please come and see what these children have created by being involved in this great program," the spokesperson said.
For more information on The Children's Council, visit http://www.thechildrenscouncil.org.
The Jones House Community Center is located at 604 W. King St. in downtown Boone. For more information on the Watauga Arts Council, visit http://www.watauga-arts.org.