Daniel, Jonathan and Benjamin Neawedde kicked off their shoes, dropped to their knees and grabbed paintbrushes.
The three brothers were given a few pieces of advice from Southern Indiana Center for the Arts teacher Kay Fox before they began putting colorful strokes onto a canvas spread out across the floor inside a building at Shops at Seymour on Saturday afternoon.
“I kind of like that there’s not really a wrong way to do it,” said Benjamin Neawedde, a student at Immanuel Lutheran School.
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“This is what I live for, you know,” Fox said, referring to helping the Neaweddes and other kids learn and experience art.
The canvas was one of the highlights of Seymour Community Schools’ annual Celebration of the Arts and offered anyone in the community a chance to stop by and add their own artistic touch.
The Neaweddes painted some swipes of greens and blues before moving on to another activity at the event. The finished piece will hold the names of those who worked on it and eventually be on display throughout the community and schools.
This year was the 30th anniversary for the art show, which displayed the creativity of more than 800 students in kindergarten through 12th grade. In addition to Seymour schools, it featured entries from students at Immanuel Lutheran School, St. Ambrose Catholic School and Trinity Lutheran High School.
Rainfall caused the event to be pushed onto the sidewalks and inside some of the empty buildings. However, Mariella Wehmiller, an art teacher at Brown and Redding elementary schools, said there was still a decent turnout of attendees.
“We were hoping to have at least 1,000 people. I’m thinking we may have hit it,” she said.
Wehmiller said a year ago, organizers were talking about how they wanted to make the 30th anniversary something different and special, so that’s why they worked to heavily involve the community.
The event offered anyone who stopped through a chance to see art, bid on it and even create their own, including an area where people could paint on a Dumpster. The event, which was sponsored by many area businesses, also had a few food vendors and musical performances.
On display were a variety of media, such as oil, acrylic and watercolor painting, drawing, sculpture and modeling, pottery, glass, metal and woodwork, graphic art, photography and textiles.
Stephanie Otte proudly snapped a photo of her daughter next to a picture on exhibit. Abby Otte, 6, a student at Immanuel Lutheran School, had colored it, creating a rainbow in her art class.
“We knew she had some art projects, so we came here to take a look,” Stephanie Otte said.
Set up at a table, Demi Oakes, a sophomore at Trinity Lutheran High School, took some time to draw at the event, creating a replica of a picture from her phone.
“It’s a picture of me with my dog,” she said.
Oakes said she wants art to be a part of her career path — possibly a special effects engineer for television, computer or movies — mostly because of the way it makes her feel.
“It releases the creativity in your imagination,” she said.
Cameo Hildreth, who sat beside Oakes, created a drawing of three wooden crosses to represent the “Three Wooden Crosses” song by Randy Travis.
The freshman at Trinity Lutheran High School said she has been drawing since third grade.
“No one really judges you for what you draw. It’s about how you do it, not what you do,” she said.
Like Oakes, Hildreth wants art to be a part of her future endeavors.
“I really want to be a teacher, and I want the kids that I teach to understand how much work goes into something like this,” she said.
Wehmiller said art not only help kids and teens find a hobby to enjoy, but it’s also to have an outlet to be themselves and learn.
“It allows kids a chance to express themselves, to think, to problem solve,” she said. “It’s very important.”