Pegasus kids broaden artistic horizons
By LPR Staff
Known as much for their physical labor within the community as they are for the lives that found them placed in Lockhart, the students of the Pegasus School are embracing the opportunity to show another side of themselves.
Working with art teacher Chris Zelazny, more than 40 students of the Pegasus
School have dedicated hours of both classroom and free time to prepare for an art exhibit and sale in connection with the Feria de Culturas Dia de los Muertos celebration on Nov. 14, 2015.
“Every time I turn around, these kids amaze me,” Zelazny said of her students. “I give them assignments and turn them loose, and ‘these’ are the kind of results I get.”
Those results, shown with a grand gesture around one of her three classrooms on the complex, exhibits a wide range of art, in almost every medium imaginable.
An intricate shadowbox mural depicting the life and times of Mexican folk artist Frida Kahlo.
An owl, dressed exquisitely in peacock feathers, stands nearly six feet high.
A hand-sketched and hand-beaded shell mural wall hanging.
These are only some of the Pegasus art that will be available for display and purchase during the Dia de los Muertos celebration on the Square this weekend.
“They have been working on these projects for weeks,” Zelazny said. “And everything we sell, every penny we make will come back into the art program, to purchase supplies for other projects.”
Despite their troubled lives, many Pegasus students have found art to be an important part of not only their state-required education, but also of their therapy and recovery on the road to changing their lives and breaking the cycle of crime and abuse.
One, “Billy,” proudly displayed a sketch he created as a part of a lesson on Vincent Van Gogh, which included a quote from Van Gogh about art, madness and success, and a memorial to his grandmother, who passed not long before he was placed with Pegasus.
Others, during the same lesson, were able to find common ground with the troubled artist who moved from town to town, often chased away by townspeople who were frustrated with his madness.
“I told them about that, and one of them said, ‘so, Van Gogh was on his seventh or eighth placement,’” Zelazny said. “I never thought about it that way, but he was exactly right.”
Perhaps, during the course of their troubled lives, the Pegasus students have not experienced education about art, nor had their works of imagination directed and praised in the way all children deserve.
This interviewer spent more than an hour, as student after student culled through weeks of art projects, each more intricate and imaginative than the next, and explained the thought process involved in creating the art, and the feelings that creation spurred in each of them.
Skeletons for Dia de los Muertos, dressed as Tejano superstart Selena Quintanilla Perez, Albert Einstein and Michael Jackson. Sugar skulls, painted on rocks collected from the San Marcos River. Altars, dressed in dried beans, corn and shells. Pastels and charcoal sketches of artists, historical figures, and even a lion that was displayed in City Hall, with which Zelazny cannot bear to part.
“The talent, and the excitement in these kids when they do these art projects is like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Zelazny said, as only an art teacher with talented students can. “I know what the community thinks about these kids, when they think about these kids, but they are so much more than they get credit for.”
Through their art, the students have shown that they are compassionate, creative, and most of all, supportive not only of the community, but of one another.”
While being interviewed for this piece, several reminded their classmates of other works that should have attention drawn to them. They complimented one another’s work, and collaborated as teams to create still more art, for display and for sale, with the knowledge and hope that their work would benefit not only their education, but the continued art program for students that will come to the Pegasus program in the future.
In addition to being featured in the Dia de lost Muertos Art Show at the Dr. Eugene Clark Library from noon – 3 on Saturday, Nov. 14, the Pegasus School will have a booth on site at the celebration, where additional works can be viewed and purchased. Again, all proceeds from the sale will be used to purchase curriculum and art supplies for the Art Classes at the Pegasus School.