The National Conference Center in Leesburg hosted 25 fifth grade students from Mrs. Rowan’s class at Seldens Landing Elementary School Thursday morning. The School was approached five years ago by the NCC to create ideas and inspiration to design a Christmas card and art teacher Steve Loya was more than excited to challenge his students.
“This is our fifth year working with the National Conference Center," said Loya. "I choose one class every year for this project and try to rotate the classes chosen so it’s a more fair opportunity.”
The students come to the center, tour the courtyard and are given picture examples of the sculptures and buildings to help inspire them to create their masterpieces. This year, due to the inclement weather the students were able to walk through the courtyard and into a room with large windows, which allowed them to incorporate the scene in front of them into their sketches.
The students are given one hour to brainstorm and sketch their ideas before taking their sketches back to the classroom to finish, color and submit in the coming week.
“We get a lot of positive feedback from the community about the artwork, since the cards go out to about 500 clients. It’s a great opportunity for the kids,” Loya said.
Each child will receive a gift card to Michaels Arts and Crafts as an incentive to keep creating. The winner will receive a framed copy of their card and two second prize winners will have their artwork displayed on the back.
While many of the students were most excited about the goodies provided, many commented on the hot chocolate and muffins, some were happy to be given a chance to put their artwork somewhere besides the refrigerator.
Justin Hampton, one of the students recreating the National Ballroom structure from a picture who usually draws spaceships and buildings at home, has dreams of becoming an architect.
“It’s a lot of fun to be here. People will get to see how good we really are” he said.
Another student, Ben, was very excited about the possibility of winning. “I’ve never won anything before," he said. "At home I do special drawings and then give them to my dad who brings them to another building that supports the arts and donates them to charities.”
Loya said he loves the idea of the students being able to express their creativity through this project.
“They get to learn the steps of illustration and although the school is close by, not many of them are aware of this place.”
The National Conference Center will put all 25 submissions to a vote and a winner will be revealed in about three weeks time.