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Second-Graders See Smiles Everywhere

Have you ever looked at a house or a building and thought, "That house or building looks like it is making a face at me?" American Pop artist James Rizzi has created a whole genre of artwork to bring to life his vibrant, three-dimensional ideas of giving buildings a personality. Now, second graders in Ms. Dietz's art class are embracing Rizzi's concepts as they model his cheerful projects.

"You just can't help but smile when you see the students' cheery cityscapes because you see how their unique personalities and ideas shine through," said Ms. Dietz. "This is how children should see the world, as a happy place, and studying James Rizzi's work is a wonderful way to introduce pop art and cubist artists like Picasso."

The students agreed that the Rizzi-inspired silly cityscapes were one of their favorite art lessons of the year. "Making my cityscape was fun, and now I want to do a Picasso painting," said second-grader Grisman pointing to a Picasso-face art print. 

Rizzi was best known for his childlike colorful cityscapes, often described as 'Picasso meets Hanna-Barbera.' His cheerful art provided the perfect inspiration for students as they created their works over several sessions. The multi-stage process began with students drawing colorful, overlapping buildings that one would see if they were looking at a city on the horizon. From there, they added special features such as winking eyes and cheeky grins -- the touches that gave the buildings a personality. Next, students used Sharpie over all of the lines and then colored in pencil to make all of the cute details pop. Finally, the students added vibrant colors to the sky and buildings, carefully employing water-soluble oil pastel crayons.

"We love painting," cheered second graders Adalys, Alejandra, and Rihana. "It's even more fun when you get to paint your own crazy drawing," said Adalys.  Dare you not to smile when you see these joyful works of art!