Framingham resident Donna Sarti smiled as she recalled the first time she realized her son Andrey’s artistic talent.
“He had never really been into it before,’’ said Sarti, who added Andrey had difficulty with the technical aspects of drawing. “He was a kid who I never thought would have artistic talent. But last year, I couldn’t believe it - he had been invited to an art show.”
Andrey’s pizza box Taj Mahal was featured in a “green” art exhibit at the Newton YMCA.
On Monday, Andrey’s art was featured once again, this time at an art show at the Learning Center for the Deaf in Framingham, where he is a fifth-grader.
Now in its sixth year, the annual show gives the school’s deaf students like Andrey a chance to share their art.
“Deaf children are very visual,” said art teacher Mary Silvestri, who organizes the show. Art gives them a way to express themselves, she added, speaking through an interpreter at the show Monday.
“It’s also important for the parents to see their capabilities,” Silvestri said. “Sometimes they’re surprised to see their child’s artwork.”
This year’s show was held in the school’s gymnasium, where tables and walls adorned with student artwork were set up Monday. The show’s usual venue at the childhood center was unavailable this year due to ongoing renovations at the building.
Due to the construction the show was also held later this year; the school only has a week of classes left until summer break.
All of the featured art was made in Silvestri’s classes, and represented each of the school’s K-12 grades.
Ninth-grader Elaina Fisher was at the show Monday to show her painting, a colorful depiction of an African sunset.
“I’m satisfied with it - I really like scenes of nature,” she said. Fisher added she tends to like to work in black and white, however - “I sometimes think color can destroy a picture.”
Elaina, who prefers to draw in pencil, is also a fan of animation and comics.
“We try to touch on different mediums,” said Silvestri. Each art show also has a unique theme; this year’s focused on African and Middle Eastern culture.
Thanks to that inspiration, this year’s pieces were popping with color - the vibrant paintings, photographs and sculptures lit up the gym Monday.
Some of the art represented weeks of work; others were completed in a single class. Because the school enrolls students of so many ability levels (many students admitted have disabilities in addition to deafness), Silvestri said her art class allows them to work at their own pace.
“We try to provide them with structure,” she said. “But there are some students who may struggle with the curriculum and want to do things a different way.”
Creating art can be an empowering process for the students, she added.
“The art show is something they look forward to - their art can be seen,” she said.
Sarti said Andrey is “coming into his own” as a result of his artistic growth, for example.
“The big thing for me is that he has confidence - he feels he can do things,” she said. “He enjoys it.”
Admiring one of Andrey’s paintings at Monday’s show, Sarti also pointed out another surprising development.
“It’s really quote good,” she said.
(Scott O’Connell can be reached at 508-626-4449 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)