Student art goes on display in Promising Picassos exhibit

Connell Harriman never worked with wire sculpture before, but his first shot at it went pretty well.

His sculpture is going to be part of Promising Picassos, the annual exhibit of student art organized by the Island School Council for the Arts.

When the fifth-grader's art class at Hilton Head Island Elementary started working with wire, he knew the perfect subject -- his dad. What resulted was a caricature-ish version of his father, Rob.

"I made it whimsical because that's my dad," Connell said.

Connell's work is one of about 300 original pieces selected for the show that runs through Saturday at Pineland Station. The exhibit is open to all students in south of the Broad schools.

Promising Picassos gives students a taste of life as a professional artist. Students submit entries to teachers who select what pieces show. The exhibit starts with an opening reception where students can woo potential buyers. For the first time, each piece will be priced for sale.

"I think it'll give them some real world experience," said council president Mira Scott.

Promising Picassos is one of several council initiatives to promote art to local students, such as scholarships to college-bound art students and resident artist visits. The council, founded in 1971, has put on Promising Picassos for the past 20 years.

Lea Sheeran's piece in the show is a collage of wiggly stems and bright leaves. The Hilton Head Island Elementary first-grader called it "My Colorful Spring."

"It's spring and my birthday is in April," she said, explaining her motivation. "I usually like to paint or draw cats and dogs."

Hilton Head Preparatory School junior Gracie Anderson, who entered a self portrait, said she's always enjoyed the exhibit to see the talent the island has to offer.

"You see kids create art out of just pure ingenuity and creativity, not because they've been trained to do something," she said. "Everything is so different and diverse."