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Show promotes art of the future

By By JONATHAN CLAYBORNE, News Editor
Mollie Crawford might be a scientist when she grows up, according to her mother, Kara.
But right now, Mollie's keeping things in perspective – one-point perspective, to be exact.
On Sunday, the 8-year-old briefly fixed a wide-eyed gaze on her own work of art, a water-color-and-construction-paper painting suspended from the wall of the Washington Civic Center.
She called it "Florida."
"I like the sun," Mollie said, referring to a yellow-orange orb she painted, halfway above a horizon line obscured by a leaping dolphin, an island and a palm tree.
Mollie was with her parents at the opening of Beaufort County Schools' Student Art Show 2003, held by the Beaufort County Arts Council.
"I was thinking about what I was going to see at the beach," a note attached to the work read.
Proud parents Kara and Mike stood nearby, looking admiringly at their daughter's creation.
Mollie seemed unphased.
The third-grade student at Tayloe Elementary School was more interested in some of the 157 other pieces in the show, ranging from beginners' sketches to more advanced, high-school sculpture.
Not far away stood Don Miller, one of three art teachers at Washington High School. Peering through a glass showcase, Miller admired the sculpture of senior Hunter Smithwick, his student.
Smithwick called his art "Temple de les Tetes," which means "temple of the heads" in French, the student's note says. The piece features nine oblong skulls of the type commonly displayed in surf shops.
The temple, crafted out of packing material for a new computer, has a wide, mouthlike opening.
"It's a portal," Miller explained.
The piece earned Smithwick the Bank of America Student Art Award.
"I think Hunter has certainly exhibited the best quality of any artist and that is to make something out of nothing," Miller said.
Elsewhere in the gallery, Elizabeth Propst, an art teacher at Eastern Elementary School, smiled broadly at a single-bed sheet she helped transform into art with her students and the Shabu family, touring performers who share African culture.
The family stopped by last week to do a show for more than 1,800 students during a session arranged by the Arts Council. The bed sheet, which is five feet across, was covered in patterns, including an African symbol for life.
"I estimate it was about a 10-hour project," Propst said.
Nearly every school in the county was represented in the show, according to Joey Toler, program director for the Arts Council.
"It's always a great show because we do try to present it as a true exhibit, a professional exhibit," he said.
The show was sponsored by Bank of America in Washington.
"We've always been involved with the Arts Council," said Steve Reel, manager. "I feel it's important for the kids there in school, to try to give them some support to pursue their interests."
The show will run through March 26 in the Civic Center. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
"Occasionally, the gallery is closed to the public for a private event," reads an invitation to the reception. "Please call the Arts Council at 946-2504 or the Civic Center at 975-9316 to verify gallery accessibility."
Jonathan Clayborne may be reached by telephone at 940-4213 or via e-mail at jonathan@wdnweb.com.