It was late winter when students started thinking worldly, and asking themselves “what would make a good picture to kids our age in China?” Almost all of Otsego’s elementary students participate in the China Art Exchange program through the MSU Extension office. Each child creates some type of artwork and enters it into the contest.
There are several levels of the competition. First, judges choose 10 students from each class to move onto the county level; there, 10 students from each participating school are submitted to state. It is at the state level where the winning entries are chosen; those works go on to be displayed in schools in China. In return, artwork from Chinese students travels to participating schools in Michigan.
At Washington Street Elementary, students were asked to create a picture that tells a story of where they are from, to show students what life might be like here in the United States or in Michigan.
“I like to do ballet,” says Madison Hoffman who created a dance scene.
Several students created American flags on their pages and added fireworks.
Others created Chinese inspired works, “I like snakes,” Robert Phillips says, “and it’s from China so they might understand.”
Several weeks after they completed those pictures, they found out who was competing at state, then who would have their artwork travel overseas.
Each of Otsego’s elementary schools is represented this year; there are four students from Alamo and Dix Street Elementaries and three from Washington Street Elementary. (See pictures to the right, and artwork descriptions below.)
The China Art Exchange is a program Otsego has participated in for 11 years now. The district was recognized in the fall for 10 years of participation.
Kaitlyn Robinson, Alex Goodwin, Ashley Goodrich, Logan Brown
Jean Angilque Podewell, Heaven Leigh Watson, Carly Bowling
Emma Owens, Samantha Krusinga, Nash Smith, Kayla Krusinga
In addition, participation in this program helped earn Otsego Public Schools a new honor, the “Partner Award” from the Michigan Association of Extension 4-H Youth Staff. MSU Extension Educator Jan Brinn nominated Otsego because of its dedication working with her and MSU Extension with the China Art Project (over 10 years), the Michigan/ Poland Connections Pilot Project, Lego League Robotics, FLEX International Exchange (and other International Programs) and the pilot China connection project.
China Art winners and artwork:
Kaitlyn Robinson, 9, "Sunny Day in America"
Alex Goodwin, 9, "Ice Skater"
Ashley Goodrich, 8, "Flying Chinese Dragon"
Logan Brown, 11, "Burning Rubber"
Jean Angilque Podewell, 9, "Animals in the Art Room"
Heaven Leigh Watson, 9, "Five Frozen Lakes"
Carly Bowling, 9, "My Dream Tree house"
Emma Owens, 9, "Day of Play"
Samantha Krusinga, 8, "Mackinac Bridge"
Nash Smith, 10, "The Titanic"
Kayla Krusinga, 9, "The Natures Sounds"