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Growing through art

The opening reception of A Place to Grow’s annual art show was full of noise, smiling children and colorful, wall to wall art Thursday morning.
“We weren’t even able to get everything up,” said Denise Zock, director of the preschool. “We had to choose bits and pieces.”
The art exhibit, which is being held at the Lincoln Cultural Center until March 9, is divided into two sections – pre-school and high school aged students.
The school serves special needs children, and the pre-school is open to the community.
“It’s integrated. So the typical child will be exposed to the children with disabilities, and the atypical child will be exposed to children their own age,” said Lee Simmons, program supervisor of the school.
All students participated in the art show, which is full of multi-media art. There are flip-flops sitting in sand boxes, red Valentine’s Day hearts and colored-in turtles swimming beneath 3-D sailboats in a construction paper sea.
“I think it’s fabulous,” said Cornelia Handolescu, a parent. “All of it’s really nice. It’s really colorful.”
Her 7-year-old daughter, Abby, enjoys her time creating art – especially dealing with colors.
“She really gets into it,” said Handolescu.
This is the seventh show the school has put on at the Cultural Center.
“They worked so hard,” said Mary Jane Howard, director of the Arts Council.
Howard chose the summer season as her favorite part of the exhibit. Many other viewers, fresh in from the biting cold, echoed that opinion.
“I love the colors the children choose,” said Zock.
Each season is covered in depth – Martin Luther King Day is noted in the winter, Easter eggs are sparkling with glitter for spring, palm trees sprout up in the summer season and the color scheme changes to red, yellows and browns for fall.
It’s no wonder the year got such good coverage – students at the school create art all the time.
“Art is an everyday thing for them,” said Zock. “It’s accessible to them 100 percent of the day.”
The school serves students from ages 2 to 21, and most are integrated into the Lincoln County Schools system or the greater community.
“It’s never our intention to keep a child throughout their whole school career,” said Simmons.
For younger children, the school offers them a place to get a head start. For the high school students, it’s somewhere to belong.
“The older kids are more severely handicapped, but the school gives them a place where they are treated respectfully,” said Simmons. “It’s a place where they are recognized for their individuality, not their differences.
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The art show will be on exhibit through March 9. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Lincoln Cultural Center is located at 403 E. Main St. in Lincolnton.
by Sarah Grano

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