Groton schools' student art gallery dedicated in memory of late teacher

Groton -- After Andrea Ackerman was elected to the Board of Education, people asked her how she felt about walking past the artwork of her late husband’s students on her way to meetings.

They worried it would make her sad, but it was just the opposite.

“It made me feel as though he was still here,” Ackerman said.

She said she loves that art enables kids to show their own reality through their eyes.

Now, student artwork has moved from the halls of the Groton Public Schools administrative office on Flanders Road into room 11, where the school board holds its Committee of the Whole meetings.

On Monday evening, art teachers and school officials held a reception for the new Groton Public Schools Student Art Gallery, dedicated to Keith Ackerman.

He was an art teacher in Groton from 1965 to his retirement in 2000. Ackerman died in 2012 at age 69.

Eighteen frames of student artwork line the newly painted blue walls of room 11, with more hung in the hallway. They showcase portraits and watercolors of kids holding umbrellas and Kandinsky-inspired abstract art.

Dozens of students, parents, teachers and administrators packed the room for the reception on Monday, and Superintendent Michael Graner presented more than 20 student artists at schools across the district with certificates.

Gabby Crisostomo showcased a pencil drawing she made of her cousin, “because she’s pretty.”

West Side Middle School seventh-grader Evie Mathanool blended pastels to create different colors in her piece of a skyline at sunset, inspired by her love of New York City.

Catherine Kolnaski STEAM Magnet School fifth-grader Ana-Bele Schick said her artistic inspiration came from having a crush. She created an abstract drawing based on the wide-eyed, frightened face one has when nearing a crush.

Kolnaski art teacher Eileen Burton said she chooses to hang the artwork of students who care the most about what they’re doing, who may take the extra time to make their work look a certain way.

Editor's Note: Editor's note: This version corrects the spelling of Ana-Bele Schick and Gabby Crisostomo.

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