Portland School Notebook: Students display their art, fix up playground

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From kindergarten kids to high-school seniors, students throughout the state have created more than 100 works of art as part of Maine Youth Art Month, which begins Saturday with an exhibit at the Portland Museum of Art. The student show of paintings, drawings, sculpture, collage, mixed media pieces and other works is on view through March 29 at the museum, 7 Congress Square, Portland. “This is an exhibition for the entire community to discover the emerging voices of Maine’s youth and to recognize the immense value of arts education in our schools,” said museum spokeswoman Kristen Levesque in a press release. Youth Art Month has been observed nationally since 1961, and the PMA and the Maine Art Education Association have collaborated on the annual statewide celebration since 1980.

Students honored for community clean-up

Two Lyman Moore Middle School students were honored earlier this month by the Portland Board of Public Education for their efforts to fix up a playground in the housing project where they live. Seventh-graders Divine Macibiri and Atak Natali want to improve the grounds at the 50-unit West Presumpscot Street complex with new play equipment, a basketball court and fresh paint. “Right now, parents may not want their kids to play there because it’s dirty and unsafe, but we want children to be able to play outside,” Macibiri told the board at a Feb. 3 meeting. To get started, the students have already obtained a $500 grant from Painting for a Purpose, a local nonprofit group. The two were recognized for their work by the board and School Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk. Natali said, “We are just kids, but we are kids with vision and commitment.”

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Deering High School freshman Theo Howe recently created this untitled charcoal sketch, which is on view at the Portland Museum of Art as part of Maine Youth Art Month in March.

Lyman Moore students Atak Natali, second from left, and Divine Macibiri, second from right, recently received plaques of commendation for their community clean-up work from Portland School Superintendent Emmanuel Caulk and Board of Public Education Chairwoman Sarah Thompson.

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