Friday, May 24, 2013
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Monmouth Elementary School teacher Mary Miller hangs artwork by her third-grade class depicting "Winter Trees" at Ovenbird Bakery in Independence on Jan. 9.
January 22, 2013
INDEPENDENCE -- They're common elements of any cafe -- good coffee, tasty scones and a decor highlighted by the work of local artists.
There's a particularly sweet version of this arrangement adorning the brick walls of Ovenbird Bakery in Independence.
Stroll in this week and you'll find a display of winter wonderland scenes created by third-graders at Monmouth Elementary School and stained glass mosaics by kids at Independence Elementary School.
Ovenbird Bakery has been doubling as a children's art gallery of sorts in recent months, exhibiting work by students at the two area elementary schools.
Katie Schaub, Ovenbird owner, said the art will be up through the end of the school year -- and hopefully become an ongoing endeavor.
"First and foremost, the kids are very talented," she said. "And it's been well received by customers -- they're interested in seeing what kids are doing in school."
Schaub opened up Ovenbird to the artwork after being approached by Francie Zandol, an IES teacher.
Her students created Dia de los Muertos masks for the bakery in early November. Zandol, who's also taught at MES, said she's done such arrangements with other local businesses in the past.
"When we display art, we'll have an artist reception and bring family and friends in," Zandol said. "The kids love it because it's in a public place ... they feel very professional."
Schaub was wrestling with the problem of how to cover bare brick walls for a few months. That was solved when Monmouth Elementary officials asked if they could hang student art at Ovenbird.
MES' motivation? Hallways -- or lack of them, said Principal Dorie Vickery.
The MES campus, constructed during the 1960s, has an open-campus, California-style design with its classrooms. Once you exit a class, you're outdoors. What passes for a hallway is an eaves-covered walkway.
The result is few practical places to display a child's work, Vickery said.
"It is a challenge for the culture of the school, not having those interior hallways," Vickery said. "Most schools have bulletin boards right outside their classroom doors so people can see what kids are working on."
MES will rotate student art at Ovenbird every month. Work by teacher Mary Miller's class is on display in January.
"It's important for kids to have an audience," Miller said. "It makes them feel proud ... it gives them an incentive to take it seriously."
It hasn't been bad for the bakery either, Schaub said.
"Parents return as customers to see their kids' work -- parents who've never been in here before," Schaub said. "Some never knew this bakery was even in town and now they return because of the artwork."