Tahlequah Daily Press

May 2, 2013

Roots and Shoots lets kids help others

By RENEE FITE
Special Writer

TAHLEQUAH — The sound of harp music floated along the stairs, greeting visitors who traveled to the second floor of the Northeastern State University library en route to a children’s art show Tuesday evening.

Around the room, paintings, drawings and sculpture were on display, reflecting the colors and subjects of happy children.

The Roots and Shoots event was held to both encourage children and give them an opportunity to contribute to the community with a canned food drive for the CARE Food Pantry. The first 50 people who brought three non-perishable food items received a handmade bookmark made by a youth artist.

“I like to look at children’s art, they’re so creative and so free, they don’t have all that baggage about doing it ‘right,’ they just do it,” said Jodie Rosener, who helped with the art show.

She loves the idea of Roots and Shoots.

“It gets the youth involved, and children have really good ideas on how to help the environment,” Rosener said.

Roots and Shoots is a youth program of the Jane Goodall Institute with the mission of fostering respect and compassion for all living things, to promote understanding of all cultures and beliefs and to inspire each individual to take action to make the world a better place for people, animals and the environment, said Mindy Hendrix, show organizer.

“This art show doesn’t have any judging because I want all children to think they’re artists, because they are,” Hendrix said, “It’s like music, people like and appreciate different kinds. I like teaching children to help other people and to be more selfless and more conscious.”

Children are able to think outside of the box, Hendrix said.

“They’re open-minded and think of questions that haven’t been asked yet to find solutions,” she said.

Amy Clayton, mother of some of the artists, said her children love art.

“When I heard there was going to be an art show, and they could donate to the food pantry, I wanted them to do it,” Clayton said. “It made them excited to participate.”

Artist Jodi Gahn, 9-1/2, of Tahlequah, said she likes artwork.

“I like to draw and I like to paint,” she said. “I’ve never been in a real art show before.”

One of her pencil sketches was of dogs in the park.

“I’d just been to the Red Fern Festival, so I drew that,” Gahn said.

Artist Mallory Semrow, 15, loves art and supporting Roots and Shoots.

“It’s helping the environment, and I really like treating animals and humans equally,” Semrow said. “It’s empowering to have art in a show. You get people’s feedback and see their art.”

Randolph Friend was among the visitors to the show.

“I like the wide variety of artists and art styles,” Friend said. “This one has a 3-D butterfly. There are so many talented kids here. You can see what they’re interested in, by looking at their art.”

Hendrix said her goal is to add a little more on to Roots and Shoots.

“We’ve been doing Peace Day and now an art show, and I have other ideas to do for the children,” she said.