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Jefferson Elemenary artwork on display at Artsonia

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MASSENA - Jefferson Elementary School students now have an opportunity to have their artwork displayed on the Internet, and it could even help raise some money for the school.

Art teacher Linda Nowak and parent volunteer Wanda de Coning have been busy uploading student artwork from grades kindergarten to six to a website called Artsonia. There, visitors can view the artwork and leave comments about it.

On its website, Artsonia calls itself “the largest student art museum in the world. Every child can have an online art gallery and preserve their masterpieces for all time.”

Ms. Nowak and Ms. de Coning say it’s an opportunity for families and friends who aren’t in the area to see the pieces of art.

“People that have families across the country can share the artwork,” Ms. Nowak said.

“All over the world,” Ms. de Coning added.

Their goal, Ms. Nowak said, is to get the artwork on line so it can be shared and also to create an “electronic portfolio” of the work.

The art teacher said she actually signed up in 2009, but it was difficult finding time to upload the artwork. That’s where the volunteer efforts of Ms. de Coning came in handy this year.

Using an Artsonia app on the iPad or iPhone, they snap a photo of each piece of artwork, crop it and upload it to the website.

“You sign in and take a picture with your iPad,” Ms. Nowak said.

“Sometimes the actual picture looks better than the painting,” Ms. de Coning noted.

As of this month, the school had submitted 1,409 pieces of artwork and had 114 “Fan Club members.” There were 70 comments on the art, and two artist statements.

They’re all categorized by Artsonia. The subject areas include 53 pieces of artwork in “Circles and Colors,” 38 pieces of artwork in “Draw Your Own Shoe,” 47 pieces of artwork in “Jasper John’s Numbers,” 12 pieces of artwork in “Perspective Drawing: Boxes and a Cylinder,” 51 pieces of artwork in “Poinsettia,” 65 pieces of artwork in “Winter Moonlight” and 71 pieces of artwork in “Coil Pots.”

There are also “Gorgeous Gourds,” “Chalk Pumpkins,” “Skeletons,” Pointillist Ghosts,” “Fall Reflections,” “Cats,” “Fun Faces,” “Sunflowers” and more.

“It’s all a spreadsheet. They take care of all of that,” Ms. Nowak said.

In most cases, there’s a description of what the students did in developing the artwork. For the “Cats” exhibit, “Students drew a cat of their choice from a selection of photographs and ‘how to draw’ pages. The chalk line drawing was traced with Elmer’s Glue and left to dry. The following week, students select a color scheme and begin to fill the shapes with color to complete the composition.”

Students and others are able to leave comments about the artwork. One student, identified as Logan13732, noted, “My favorite part is the purple chalk that created the shadows. My least favorite part was tracing the leaves because it was tricky to do. I learned how to create shadows and how to blend colors. I used chalk and a paper towel for blending. It was a fun project, and I really liked using chalk.”

Ms. de Coning said that, when individuals sign up for the website they’ll receive an automatic email every time a new piece of artwork is added to the site. Parents can also add artwork once they’re signed up, Ms. Nowak noted.

“They have their own login. They can see their own artwork and set up a notification,” she said.

But Artsonia is more than just a place to “hang” artwork for viewing. It also serves as a fundraiser for the school’s parent group, according to Ms. de Coning.

The website offers a number of items, ranging from coffee mugs, magnets, T-shirts and phone/iPad cases, to travel mugs, mouse pads, coasters, keychains and water bottles that can be emblazoned with a student’s artwork.

“They have a list of items you can purchase. The school gets 20 percent of the sales,” she said.

The artwork for Jefferson Elementary students can be seen at www.artsonia.com/schools/school.asp?id=51791.

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