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Sherman Oaks | Valley Focus

Gallery to Exhibit Art by Balboa 4th-Graders

June 11, 1996|DAVID E. BRADY

For most children, the lovingly crafted crayon-and-construction masterpieces created in school hang only on the family refrigerator, wedged between photos and recipes. For 32 fourth-grade students at Balboa Magnet School in Northridge, however, their work currently occupies a far more prestigious spot--the walls of a Sherman Oaks art gallery.

"We wanted to encourage art in the classroom," said Cindy Wali of the Wing Gallery, which hopes to display the work of local schoolchildren year-round as part a new outreach effort.

"Our intent was to have the kids produce something we could hang in the gallery."

With the guidance of teacher Margaret Friedman, the students spent weeks creating two-dimensional self-portraits, still-lifes, collages and contemporary pieces in the style of Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol.

The result was an artistic bounty of about 90 pieces of varying sizes. One work from each student was selected for mounting, which the gallery provided free.

Last Friday, students were feted at an after-hours reception that drew more than 100 friends and family members. "It's encouraging for them because a lot of kids would never have the chance to have their stuff displayed," Wali said. The Balboa students' work will remain at the gallery until Monday.

During the school year, Friedman's students have been participating in the Museum of Contemporary Art's Art Starters program, a curriculum that aims to introduce children to the limitless possibilities of their imaginations. It is a spark that is often lost in the transition to adulthood, she said.

"We become so self-conscious and so inhibited," she explained. "We lose that side of our creativity and we're afraid we're going to be judged."

Located at 13520 Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, the Wing Gallery is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

For information, call (818) 981-9464.

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