Art for special kids
By TRAVIS M. WHITEHEAD
HARLINGEN — Isaiah Bedolla’s face lit up with joy as the bright colors appeared beneath the paper towel.
His mother, Alma Maldonado, had guided his tiny hands as they drew the wet paper towel across a canvas with colorful acrylic paints.
“He loves art,” she said. “He loves to do it at home.”
She and Isaiah, 4, had gathered Saturday at D’Arte Centre on Jackson Street for “Painting Day” organized by the Down Syndrome Support Group. Children and parents sat at three long tables spread throughout the spacious room and enjoyed an afternoon of colors and fun.
Laura Having, founder of the organization, was delighted by the turnout.
“I have a desire to provide additional resources for them,” she said. “There aren’t that many resources here in the Valley. That’s what motivates me. It’s a judgment free zone.”
Teacher Kathy Rinearson spoke excitedly about the activity in which the children would use liquid acrylics.
“What we’re doing is pouring it in strips on the canvas,” she said. “I want them to enjoy what they are doing. I want them to be successful and proud.”
As everyone walked in they were handed small pieces of cardboard canvas and aprons decorated with colorful hands. Each child had a large tray of stiff foil and two small wooden blocks to hold up the canvas.
“I need you all to come over,” Rinearson said, smiling to everyone. They drew closer to where she stood with bottles of colorful paint.
She poured three green strips, then yellow and finally red.
“I’m going to put a little dab of black at the top,” she said. She drew the wet paper towel across the colors as the children watched transfixed. Some gasped as the bubbles appeared, creating all sorts of colorful affects, and they appeared anxious to try it themselves.
Eva Maldonado now took her daughter Daniella’s hand and together they grasped a cup of violet paint, pouring it in three strips across her small canvas.
“Good job!” said Maldonado before she helped Daniella, 10, select yellow and then blue. Black paint across the top finished the deal.
They dragged the wet towel across the entire canvas. Daniella watched in fascination as a sort of swamp appeared from the paint, black for the deep water and rivulets of green for seaweed.
“She’s very happy,” said Eva Maldonado. “She’s very ‘Wow.’”
All the children appeared to have derived great joy from the painting session.