Art grows at Frankford

From the Northeast Times:

By Diane ProkopTimes Staff Writer

Abria Terrell likes to paint butterflies, and her favorite color is pink. At the ripe young age of 5, the little girl will take part in her very first art show. The Children of Frankford Make Art is an exhibit that will be presented from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 8, at the Frankford Arts Bank Gallery, adjacent to the Third Federal Savings Bank at 4625 Frankford Ave. The space is provided courtesy of Frankford Associates.

Abria is among children who have been receiving fine-art lessons in Frankford from Rufus Standefer, a member of the International Cinematographers Guild, and Richard Harvey, who has a master’s degree in fine arts from the Tyler School of Art and teaches in the City University of New York system. The two have conducted the classes after school at both the Frankford Friends School on Orthodox Street and at the Beacon Center, which operates out of Frankford High School.

“It’s a great, great joy to be able to do this,” Standefer said.The fine-arts studio classes are just that, teaching the children about space, color theory and organizing shapes, tones and colors. “We’re not trying to teach them to be creative or paint or make objects recognizable stories. We’re attempting to take skill sets of drawing and painting and show them how,” he said. “We teach them to mix paint and tactics for observation — look past things, look around them.”

Seven-year-olds Iris Wilson, Najah Fleming and Danaya Dixon, along with Jennifer Honorat, 6, were given the task of drawing one another’s faces. Before they could begin, however, Standefer had them touch the tops of each other’s heads, then their noses. Whether the children realized it or not, Standefer was showing them the spatial relationship between the two.”Should we draw our faces?” asked Iris.”We can make our neck and shoulders,” Danaya replied.

Standefer pointed to a painting.”Look at the subtlety. Look not at the objects and look where they collide,” he said. Standefer’s enthusiasm for the children’s talent is effusive. “You love them all when you see what they do,” he said. Standefer talked about one 11-year-old student who was asked to paint a leaf — without using any shade of green. “While the leaf was actually orange, he somehow managed to have it marvelously feel like a green leaf. He has talent as deep as the ocean,” Standefer said.

If you go to the exhibit, look at the children’s artwork with a new eye — not at the object itself, but at how the children translated it in their imagination. The show is free. Light refreshments will be served.

••Reporter Diane Prokop can be reached at 215-354-3036 or dprokop@phillynews.com