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Kids create art work for social distance floor spacers in museum contest

'Seeing how my sister is so loving has given me hope that things can get better so she can have a normal childhood,' said Claire Robinson.

Go ahead. Step on Claire Robinson’s painting of her sister.

She won’t mind.

She painted it with the expectation that  you would. 

Robinson was one of nine young artists who responded to the Delaware Art Museum’s Creative Spacers Youth Art Contest this month. They were asked to create an image that could be used as a COVID-19 floor spacer, one of those small reminders on a floor or a sidewalk to socially distance by staying 6 feet from people you don’t know or are not with.

“Both kids and art are really undervalued right now,” said Lillia Schmidt, the museum’s community engagement intern. who had the idea for contest. “With this we wanted to empower kids and encourage the next generation of artists.”

Robinson, a 7th grade student at P.S. DuPont Middle School, chose the themes of love and hope and intended for people to feel like they can get through whatever they can get through with that love and hope. 

She decided to her sister’s image was perfect for the art work.

Delaware Art Museum Creative Spacers Contest
Kiley Farina

“I’ve been spending a lot of time with my sister and family recently and seeing how my sister is so loving has given me hope that things can get better so she can have a normal childhood,” Robinson said.

“Her hands are in the shape of a heart to represent love,” Robinson said. The bird in the work represents care, affection and hope.

The children’s contest was an adjunct of the Museum’s Creatives Spacers Project. That program paid professional artists early in the pandemic to create spacers that would be offered to downtown businesses, partly to help the artists maintain an income. 

The professional spacers can be found in the State Building in Wilmington, at the Delaware Community Foundation, Latin American Community Center, Greenbox Kitchen on Market, West Side Neighborhood House, Delaware Art Museum, River Road Swim Club and YWCAs across New Castle County.

The idea for the youth contest started with a brain-storming session with Schmidt and Jonathan Whitney, manager of performance programs and community engagement. 

Delaware Art Museum Creative Spacers Youth Contest
1st Grader Kiley Farina created this image to celebrate how everyone is connected.

The youth program, which may spawn future contests, was opened to students ages 6 to 19. They were asked to create 12-by-12-inch 2D work that conveyed the messages of hope, love, social distancing or pandemic safety. 

While the museum originally planned to declare a few winners and give each a gift card to a local art supply store, it’s now declared all nine artists who entered winners.

One is Kiley Farina, who’s going into the first grade this year. She decided to depict about how everyone is connected. 

“Love is in our hearts,” Kiley said. “We’re all connected, no matter what color you are, boy or girl, glasses or no glasses.” 

She said that she felt proud about her art and being a part of an art contest.

“I really like drawing,” she said. “I usually draw every day.”

Other winners were Azalea Banks, Reeves Ohlinger, Natty Moffett, Simone Moffett, Scarlett Burleigh, Natlie Weinberg and an artist named Karl, who didn’t give a last name.

Kiley’s’ father, Matt Farina, supported his daughter entering the contest. 

“I think it provides an outlet for the kids,” he said. “Kiley really seemed to press the idea that we were all connected, and we really pushed her to follow that idea.”

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