By Deborah Pace Rowley
Elementary-age kids love to have their artwork displayed. The fridge was the proverbial place for pictures in the past. But if you are like me, I have a fridge that is not magnetic. (Even if it was, I think memo and magnet covered fridges look a little messy. Maybe that is my O.C.D coming out!)
But that doesn't mean that I shouldn't have a place of honor for treasured works of art. The walls of our mud room have become our art gallery. Once when my 6-year-old niece was visiting, I caught her staring at our wall of simple drawings. "See," she said to her mother. "Aunt Debbie loves her kids. She hangs up all their pictures!" My sister-in-law and I exchanged bemused grins. Of course, it wasn't that I loved my kids any more than she loved hers. It was just that I had an art appreciation wall. I guess this is a big deal in the mind of a child! It doesn't matter where you put it. How about down the walls of a staircase or along the sides of a bedroom hallway?
I love the look that mats give to simple drawings. My children have all enjoyed an elementary art teacher that was amazing. She took the time to prepare an art show at the end of every year. Then she would mount and mat 5 or 6 of the best pieces of art for each child. She cut these mats herself and then covered each piece in plastic wrap. I can't cut my own mats but I know that mats and frames are available at thrift stores and dollar stores, Goodwill or Deseret Industries for just a few dollars.
One mother I knew had a gallery of her children's art work in her front entryway. The reason that the kid's crayons looked so classy is that all the art was in an eclectic group of flea market frames that were as original and interesting as the works of art that they contained. She had grouped these different size frames in a beautiful arrangement that told each guest in her home how important her children and their creativity were to her. It was awesome.
If you haven't got a wall of fame already, now is the time to start. Simply hang up your child's latest creation and rotate them as desired. And just because your child leaves elementary school, doesn't mean you need to stop displaying their work.
Here is one of my favorite drawings from my daughter who is in college! This is a priceless work of art to me.