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It’s Christmas Card time. One of my elementary art students created this beautiful pen and ink drawing for the annual Fort Smith Art Center Christmas Card Competition. The National Art Education Association believes that art competitions aren’t appropriate for children but I totally disagree.

I teach at a school that is in a lower economic neighborhood and yet I have some very gifted students. Art competitions are a way for them to discover that through their talent they have a way out of their neighborhood. I enter as many students in competitions that I can and just being entered is reward enough in many cases. (whether they win or not) Many of the competions exhibit the students’ art and their families go to see them.

When I was an elementary student we had no art, music or Physical Education teachers. I knew I had an ability to draw but there was no one in school to mentor me. Luckily, my own father is an artist so everything I learned when I was young I learned from him.