ROCKINGHAM — Brilliant carmine cardinals perched on a branch of longleaf pine as, nearby, sunflowers in the manner of van Gogh towered over the hors d’ouevres.
Works by fourth-grade artists Parker Medlin and Justin Flowers, respectively, the creations welcomed a buzzing, punch-sipping crowd to the Richmond County Schools’ first Art Gala, at Leath Memorial Library on Tuesday evening.
“These are so beautiful,” breathed fourth-grader Kinsie Lyerly as she coursed slowly through the gallery of paintings and colored-pencil drawings.
Which was her favorite?
“Mine,” she said, explaining that she was enamored of art and really wanted to pursue it as a career. Well, “either that or a cake decorator.”
The evening was a first for the school district. Individual schools have offered art shows in the past, but this was the first year for a districtwide gala. Too, it was the first at which students sold their works at silent auction and were allowed to keep the proceeds.
“We did that to offer their creativity legitimacy,” said Sarabeth Dew, the art teacher at Hamlet Middle School and, on Tuesday night, keeper of a table of reproductions and note cards made from the students’ work. (She had collected $200 midway through the two-hour show.)
“Many of my students became emotionally invested in their work and decided not to show,” she said.
But some of those who did earned a bit.
Midway through the show, Annika Carpenter of Richmond Senior High School had earned $90 in silent bids for a pen-and-ink rendering of a violin called “Music Takes Me Away.”
Two pianists graced the evening, 2½-year-old Jackson Niedzwiecki, who trotted toward the bass keys in his light-up sneakers, then plunked a few disordered notes. And then, Caleb Dickens, a high school senior recently accepted to the N.C. School of the Arts, who played the second movement of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
Reach Christine Carroll at 910-817-2673 or [email protected]