Revived gallery show embraces the art behind children’s ‘scribbles’
September 14, 2021
“More Than Just Scribbles,” a collection of original art by youngsters at the Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) Children’s Center, opened in the University Union Gallery on March 16, 2020.
Just three hours later, the gallery was locked as Sacramento State began the pivot to remote teaching and work because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The campus remained mostly unpopulated until Aug. 30, 2021, when face-to-face instruction resumed.
“ ‘More Than Just Scribbles’ was a time capsule that sat untouched for the whole time,” said Rebecca Voorhees, the University Union’s design, identity, and studio manager. “I wanted to open the Fall 2021 semester with this show because the children had put in so much work.”
The array of colorful artwork made by children ages 6 months through kindergarten age can be viewed 10:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday through Thursday, Sept. 23, in the second-floor University Union Gallery. The show is free and open to the public.
About half the pieces in “More Than Just Scribbles” appeared in the short-lived 2020 show and have been supplemented with new pieces created during the shutdown. The Children’s Center has remained open to provide child care programming and support for Sacramento State students who also are parents.
Just to the right of the gallery entrance is a very special piece that depicts how a group of young artists see Sacramento State’s campus. They used paint, Pellon fabric, markers, and tissue paper to make a map that depicts landmarks such as the Guy West Bridge and the University’s famous trees, along with Lassen and Kadema halls and Hornet Stadium. Smiling paper-people are scattered throughout the piece.
The children made it for University President Robert S. Nelsen and his wife, Jody.
“I remember when Jody and I were presented with this amazing work of art in December 2019, at the Children’s Center,” Nelsen said. “I love seeing the magic and beauty of our campus through the eyes of the kids.
“I am touched that these young members of our Hornet Family thought to make this gift for Jody and me. We will treasure it forever.”
Among other exhibit highlights is an old car tire splattered with a mixture of primary and secondary paint colors by artists 2 and 3 years old. The exercise allowed them to practice their fine-motor and social skills, work on their vocabulary, and learn to take turns.
An even younger group – ages 12 to 24 months – squeezed liquid watercolor paint from pipettes onto a cloth canvas and then sprinkled salt accents onto glue spots. The piece is a modern-art splatter-work in shades of blues, purples, and yellows.
After a trip to the Planetarium in the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, children ages 3 to 5 collaborated on fashioning a rocket ship from folded newsprint, flour, glue, and water.
Connor, one of the artists, asked his pal Easton: “How are we going to fit inside?”
Easton said, “We’ll have to call a scientist, because he can make it bigger.”
The children also made helmets for imaginary astronauts and learned about precision, strength, coordination, and efficiency while using their hands.
“Every year, I’m blown away with how they reinvent art,” Voorhees said. “Being in a gallery and giving them a platform like this reinforces the importance of art and how valuable it is for children to immerse themselves in creativity.”
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