Emek Early Childhood’s Evening of Art is a Smashing Success

Sara Rosenthal

On Tuesday night, Emek’s Early Childhood Center opened its doors for a gala evening of culture and elegance. Under the leadership of Director Bernice Zachariash, the school was transformed from a whimsical place of play and learning into an art museum of impressive quality and scale.

The transformation began weeks in advance when each teacher was assigned an artist. Then each began the process of educating their children, from Gesher through Kindergarten, about the artist’s methods and techniques, as well as about the artist himself. After the theory and concept were given over, the children set to work on creating their own interpretations of the pieces of their assigned artists.

Our Kindergarteners, under the guidance of Morot Cookie, Rivka, and Debbie, slowly transformed their classrooms into exhibits depicting the works of Wassily Kandinsky, Vincent Van Gogh, and pottery-maker Abe Anjin.  Morot Miriam, Michal, and Sorah aided their Nursery students in creating their own exhibits featuring the works of Frank Auerbach, Pablo Picasso, and Marc Chagall; while Morot Roya, Nava, and Madlin led their Gesher and Pre-Nursery children in the creation of Richard Serra and Jackson Pollock-themed exhibitions. Day after day, the children worked with enthusiasm to perfect and improve each and every aspect of their creations until the big night finally arrived.

Following dismissal, faculty members Helen Cohen and Sara Rosenthal began turning the school’s atrium into a banquet hall. Flower-bedecked tables set with sparkling cider on ice and elegantly arranged champagne glasses were flanked by black-draped cocktail tables offering a variety of cheese, crackers, and freshly cut fruit. The entryway offered elegantly made programs containing a floor plan as well as brief descriptions of the exhibits. Placed artfully around the perimeter of the space, large easels displayed pictures and condensed biographies of each artist.  The final touch was the live piano music, played by Morah Rachel Seidel, completing the ambience. When entering the school, one was made to feel like they were being transported from the small preschool on Chandler Boulevard to the MET Gala in New York City.

From the central banquet area, parents and grandparents, accompanied by the ECC’s proud students, were welcomed to visit each exhibit where they were stunned by what they beheld.  Concentric circles, Bizen pottery, stained-glass windows, and more all replaced the usual carpets, toys, and charts that are typical in any preschool classroom. Gasps of “how professional,” “what creativity,” and “I can’t believe the kids really did this!” were heard over and over throughout the night as the guests surveyed each child-made masterpiece with awe and admiration.

As the evening came to an end, a comfortable atmosphere of joy and pleasure settled on the crowd. It was a vibe that can usually be found, not in a school, but amongst a family or community that has worked together to create something truly beautiful. It is with great anticipation that we look forward to seeing what the Emek ECC staff will come up with next.