Macomb Mall teams with P.A.I.R. to showcase youth art

By: Sara Kandel | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published May 15, 2013

 Project Art In Roseville members Leonna Niedoliwka, Ted Lasater and Charlotte Boyd stand in front of their children’s art display, which will remain up at Macomb Mall through the end of May.

Project Art In Roseville members Leonna Niedoliwka, Ted Lasater and Charlotte Boyd stand in front of their children’s art display, which will remain up at Macomb Mall through the end of May.

Photo by Sara Kandel

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ROSEVILLE — There are thousands of pieces of paper adding color to and inspiring imagination in a once-empty storefront on the southeast side of the Sears court at Macomb Mall.

The display is the work of Project Art In Roseville, made possible by a generous donation of space from the mall and filled with the work of hundreds of Roseville students in kindergarten through eighth grades. 

It’s the submissions from P.A.I.R.’s fourth annual art contest and it will be on display at the mall through the end of May.

There was only one rule — each submission must be on or made from a piece of 8.5-by-11 inch white paper. The young artists who submitted pieces didn’t let this stop them from getting creative, though, and the outcome is a temporary installation that includes paintings, sketches, charcoal-works, crayon colorings, cut-outs, sculptures and even a heavy-weight championship belt.

Judging the submissions is no easy task. Since the start of the P.A.I.R. art contest, the committee has received an increasing number of entries each year, and this year was no exception, with 1,225 participants entering the contest, more than 20 of whom entered multiple pieces.

“The first year was just short of 300. The second year was just short of 600. Last year, it was just short of 800, and this is our fourth year,” said Charlotte Boyd, a committee member.

“Judging is a lot tougher than it looks,” added committee member Ted Lasater. “There are so many great entrees. It’s a long process, picking them out. They are all winners — we just have to pick out 12 of the more creative ones.”

The committee picks a first-, second- and third-place winner in each of four categories divided by age groups. In category one, for kindergarten and first-grade students, the three winning submissions came from Conner Creek Academy East: Za’Veon Richardson came in first place, Martavion Butler came in second and Karim Moore came in third.

Fountain Elementary student Olivia Rosol took home the first prize in category two, for second- and third-grade students. Second prize went to Huron Park student Alexis Koeppel, and third prize went to Dort student Alexis Dean.

Leah Tolson, a student at Conner Creek Academy East, won first place in category three, for fourth- and fifth-graders. Dort student Lacy Tavernier came in second, and Conner Creek student Marcellus Flowers came in third.

Roseville Middle School students took all three winning spots in category four, for sixth- through eighth-grade students, with Hailey Lukasik taking first place, Steven Bevan claiming second and Daniel Gonzalez taking third.

Twenty-five other submissions received honorable mentions. All of the submissions are on display.

“This is one of the very few venues kids have to display their art and excel in it,” said committee member Leona Niedoliwka. “It’s going to take time, but we are hoping to be on the map for this — to be ‘Roseville. You know — that place that does the one-piece-of-paper art project.’ It will take time, but we are hoping to get there.”

The contest is open to all students educated in Roseville, be it at a public school, private school, charter school or home school, but committee members are trying to expand their reach.

“Next year, we hope to add Reach Academy and the two Fraser schools that are in Roseville,” Boyd said.

“I really want it to be in every county, in every school district. Kids aren’t getting a proper respect for art. Everything starts with art. Think of math for younger kids. They show you seven apples and then three more apples to ask how many they have altogether. Art is used all the time to visualize all types of concepts, not just in math but in science, too — it helps get the information across.”

She’s pleased with how far the group has come, though. In addition to the art contest, P.A.I.R. is responsible for the statue outside City Hall, the chair sculpture in front of the Recreation Center and the small sculpture inside the library.

“If it weren’t for the Board of Education and the City Council backing it completely, we wouldn’t have this done,” she said. “We tried to do it on our own 40 years ago, fighting City Hall and every one else, and now because we are working with them, here we are.”

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