teacher poses with two students holding artwork

Walnut Street art teacher Kristen Massa with Emily Merfeld (left) and Faith Fox (right) who earned awards at an art exhibit in Stavropol, Russia, a city sister of Des Moines.

The annual district art fair is coming up next month but a couple of 5th graders at Walnut Street School couldn’t wait so they went elsewhere to draw some attention to their work – all the way to Russia!

Stavropol is a sister city of Des Moines. Last year it held an art competition in connection with its 240th anniversary celebration. Students from across the globe were invited to submit pieces around the theme of We Are Children of One Planet.

WSS art teacher Kristen Massa passed the word to her students and eight of them submitted entries last spring. In September the submissions were judged and recently Massa was notified that Faith Fox (1st place) and Emily Merfeld (3rd place) received awards.

“We’re an International Baccalaureate school, so the contest was a perfect tie-in with the global perspective that IB emphasizes,” said Massa.

It’s plain to see when you meet Emily and Faith that they are pals. It’s equally plain to see that they are both as serious about art as they say they are when they pose for pictures with their – pictures.

Emily’s is titled Sister Cities. Faith’s is Separated by Miles – Not by Thoughts.

“I worked on mine for about a month,” said Faith. “A little at a time. I kept getting new ideas.”

“Me too,” Emily said.

So how does it feel to be an international award-winning artist in 5th grade? Like a pair of smiles, apparently. Suitable for framing…

Other entrants from Walnut Street School (and their current grade), whose artwork was displayed in Stavropol, were:

  • Lillian Kayser, 2nd grade
  • Demiana Mengitsu, 3rd grade
  • Lynnea Harris, 3rd grade
  • Maggie Garrison, 3rd grade
  • Mia Mordini, 6th grade
  • Ingrid Liening, 5th grade

Photos of Russia-Exhibited Artwork by WSS Students
Walnut Street Artists Earn Awards in Russia

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