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'Oh, What a Night'
Art event reveals talent at Wateree Elementary
school art
First- through fifth-graders got a chance to show off their art skills in a student exhibit. All art was framed and set up by Artome, a Georgia-based company that specializes in helping elementary schools showcase student art. - photo by Miciah Bennett

He starts with the eyes. Then the nose. He does some shadowing, and finishes with the lips, hair and neck.

Michael Pope, 25, has been drawing since he was about 6. He draws black and white pictures of photographs he is given or finds. It can take anywhere from two days to two weeks, depending on the picture.

He learned how to draw on his own but did take art classes in high school, he said.  Although he moved from the Bronx, N.Y., to Beaufort when he was 2, Pope still has a hint of a New York accent. 

Pope works as a custodian at Wateree Elementary School (WES) and his drawings were showcased at Wateree Elementary School’s annual “Oh, What a Night.” He draws and frames his pictures for $40.

“My hobby is drawing people; I draw every day,” he said.

Assistant Principal Lindsey Christofaro said she was glad to “spotlight” Pope as a part of “Oh, What a Night.”

“I want my kids to recognize him and see him in another light,” she said.  “He is a really great artist.”

They’ve had math nights and science night, but this is the first time the school has had an art theme, Christofaro said.

WES has also enjoyed pancake night and pizza night and Mueller’s donated spaghetti noodles to the school through their partnership with the non-profit organization South Carolina Future Minds. Mueller’s donates enough spaghetti to allow each South Carolina school to have one spaghetti night each school year. 

Art teacher Rene Robinson contacted Artorme, based in Alpharetta, Ga., to create the exhibit. Artome is a “youth art show provider” that works with mostly elementary schools, according to its website. It sends schools paper, the students draw on it, the school sends it back to Artome and the company frames it. The company then goes to the school and sets up the exhibit.

WES students were allowed to “create anything from their imagination.”

“I didn’t want to cramp their style,” Robinson said. “This is self-guided art, and I want it to be all about them because they have the opportunity to take it home.”

Art night and the other school observances help to draw parents into school life.

 “It’s really all about parent involvement,” said Principle Gail Stehle.