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Review: 'A is for ...' earns high mark

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 27, 2011 - There's been a lot of talk about the latest pint-size Pollock, a 4-year-old girl who can paint just like the swaggering expressionist brutes of the mid-20th century. The perennial fascination with the child art prodigy reveals more about popular conceptions (or misconceptions) about art, than it does about the actual creativity of children. That is an entirely different, and vastly more interesting topic.

In the exhibition "A is for..." at the Millstone Gallery at the Center of Creative Arts, local artists who are also parents reflect on the effect that children have had on their own creative processes. The artists have each fashioned a letter of the alphabet, with the direct or indirect input of their children. The art works -- there are paintings, prints, ceramics, furniture, sculpture and mixed media works -- exhibit a brilliant array of approaches to the theme. But they're actually upstaged by the accompanying texts, in which the artists tell stories about their children: how they view the world, what they make, and the lessons we can take from them.

The exhibition is curated by Gina Alvarez, who also made the "O," and includes Jana Harper, Amy Alton Bautz, Anne Treeger Huck, Tom Huck, Robert Longyear, Daniel Raedeke, Dionna Raedeke, Fabio Rodriguez and many others.

Ivy Cooper, a professor at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon art critic.

Ivy Cooper
Ivy Cooper is the Beacon visual arts reviewer and a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.