Shenendehowa art honor students make holiday cards with local children

Alexa (left) and Arman make cards together at the Clifton Park-Halmoon Public Library. Photo by Cady KuzmichAlexa (left) and Arman make cards together at the Clifton Park-Halmoon Public Library. Photo by Cady Kuzmich
​Cady Kuzmich
Gazette Reporter

CLIFTON PARK – Members of Shenendehowa’s National Art Society teamed up with local children to make holiday cards at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library Wednesday afternoon, Dec 2.

First grader, Brennan, narrated his drawing as he finished the last details on one of his five cards. “The ornaments are all blowing off the tree!” he explained matter of factly as he spotted his card with large multi-color circles.  He made cards for his mom, dad, grandma and grandpa. Brennan says he is excited for winter, especially because that means it’s time to break out the skis. For now, Brennan avoids the “big mountains” and mainly skis “in a loop on a flat place and across a patio.”
Brennan spreads glitter over his holiday card at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library.

Brennan spreads glitter over his holiday card at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library.

Daniel holds up his reporter's notebook.

Daniel holds up his reporter’s notebook.

Ethan, also in first grade, says his favorite art project in school so far has been painting. He also loved “making the circle thingy’s” in his art class in one of Shenendehowa’s elementary schools. Ethan is excited to go downhill skiing this winter, although he doesn’t know what mountain he will be skiing at quite yet.
Daniel and Michael, both in Shenendehowa kindergarten classes, were the youngest members to take part in Wednesday’s activity. When asked what he was most excited about this winter, Daniel began jumping in place and said, “Christmas!”
Michael (left) and Daniel show off the cards they made with Shenendehowa's Art Honor Students at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library. Photo by Cady Kuzmich.

Michael (left) and Daniel show off the cards they made with Shenendehowa’s Art Honor Students at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library. Photo by Cady Kuzmich.

Michael, on the other hand, is most excited for snowball fights. Upon hearing this, Daniel chimed in that he too loves snowball fights and is looking forward to being part of his older brother’s snowball team. Daniel snatched up my reporter’s notebook and began writing his brother’s age down on the page. After a couple attempts, the number 14 appeared. He held the notepad like a seasoned journalist.
Five of the Art Honor Society’s roughly 25 members participated in the cardmaking activity which lasted an hour Wednesday.
Noting the size of the Honor Society in its third year at Shen, Junior(Double checking whether she is a junior or senior) Kathryn Nafis says, “We fill a room!” She added that many of the current members will be graduating this spring. Nafis, who’s Mom worked at the library for years says she basically grew up at the library. Nafis loves bringing kids and art together, especially since she says art is often underrated. “We started off by creating classes,” Nafis says, describing the roots of the the Honor’s Society’s relationship with the library. Some of the projects the Honor Society undertook included making flower pots, book marks and picture frames with younger children in the community.community. Nafis said they also had a “recyclable day” when everyone re-purposed recyclables to create something unique and new. “I made a giraffe,” she said with a smile. “We started off very small. Now we do a lot more on our feet in the community,” she added.
The National Art Honor Society’s mission statement is to “bring art to the community,” according to Nafis. Another way the Honor Society plans to help bring art into the community is by creating murals and “touching up” existing ones, such as the thirty year old “Metamorphosis” mural inside Shenendehowa’s hallways.
Nafis hopes to attend Springfield College in Massachusetts and study physical therapy while continuing to pursue her lifelong love of art.
Shen senior Kathryn Nafis stands outside the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.

Shen senior Kathryn Nafis stands outside the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.

Melinda Taormina, Head of Youth Services at the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library, beamed as she spoke about the young women in the room. “Many of these girls worked as teen volunteers at the library before they began their work with the National Art Honor Society.” Taormina thinks the National Art Honor’s Society ties with the Clifton Park-Halfmoon Library might be a bit of a “discovery” for younger students moving into the Honor Society in the coming years. She described the program which gives the students the opportunity to continue their volunteer work while getting involved with the honor society as a “Venn Diagram.” “This program really speaks to their strengths,” said Taormina of the honors students.