Special to South Florida Times
FORT LAUDERDALE — The next Pablo Picasso is being groomed at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale.
In his untitled acrylic mix on canvas painting of a hut nestled in a wooded area, 6-year-old Devin Freeman said that he employed Picasso’s technique of using shapes.
“I used squares, circles, triangles and the letter ‘Y’ to make the tree. I like to use things Picasso used when I paint.”
The kindergarten artist explained his thoughts while painting the piece: “I was living in a forest, in the woods. I was thinking about having a roof. I wanted to know what those things would look like and wanted to paint them.”
The painting, Devin said, took “about 45 minutes” to complete.
Louis Louissaint, who teaches kindergarten and art at the school, described Devin as “brilliant. He is one of my top students; the cornerstone of my classroom. All of my students are special but Devin is truly gifted.”
Devin’s painting was among several artistic works of the school’s 114 pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students exhibited during the 2nd Annual Art Expo themed “Meeting the Masters.”
The event, attended by about 100 parents and students, took place June 1 at King Elementary, 591 N.W. 31st Ave.
The expo’s student performers included the Parkway Middle School Performing Arts program’s jazz band; pianist Louidmeyer Louissaint, 14, of Sunrise Middle School; and clarinetist Aura Arnold, 14, of Plantation Middle School.
The art show is the vision of Louissaint, whose belief is that “All children are artists. There is something creative inside of each one waiting to happen,” he said.
There was no funding for programs such as the expo, Louissaint said, “So we created a venue to showcase the kids’ work. Students need to know that just because they come from a small, underserved community does not mean that they cannot possess incredible talent.”
The community, Louissaint said, “is dear to me and I wanted to pass on my creativity. I want the Art Expo to become one of the school’s legacies.”
Marvis Ward, the school’s principal, said that the students are “proud of their creations. The teachers love to showcase their student’s achievements as well. It’s not only a reflection on all of us but a great morale builder among the students.”
Stephen Armoux’s untitled water color on canvas painting of a basket of fruit was represented by his grandmother Jacqueline Armoux of Sunrise.
“I feel proud to stand in for Stephen,” said Armoux. “I am amazed at just how beautiful his artwork turned out.”
Stephen draws and writes, Armoux said, and “always has a pen or pencil in his hand.”
Louissaint described Stephen as “exceptionally talented and extremely bright. He reads at a second-grade level, has a very curious mind and unlimited potential.”
Armoux said that Stephen has dreams to become “everything,” including a doctor and a football player.
Rudy Jones, who attended the event in support of his godson, said he was “amazed to see such beauty emerge from small children. I had no idea what to expect, but I can say that this is beyond anything I thought. I hope these kids hold on and continue to develop. It will make a difference for their futures.”
Cynthia Roby may be reached at CynthiaRoby@bellsouth.net
Photo: TARRANCE CRAWFORD/Photos FOR SOUTH FLORIDA TIMES
PERFORMING THE ARTS: The Art Expo last Friday at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School included Parkway Middle School Performing Arts program jazz band members, from left, Henry Ulett, piano; Rahsaan Salaam, trombone; Selena Ajitsingh, bass; Donavan Perry, trumpet; and Jake Pardo, guitar.