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The Blues Don't Care How Old You Are

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A latticework of blue and rainbow-hued stripes rendered in wavering crayon lines; pencil sketches of Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry and Tina Turner in wild pencil lines; a blue steamboat on a sea of lips, eyes and blue trains — this collection of grade schoolers' artworks inspired by blues music is an oddly sophisticated and emotionally honest display. The Airport Elementary School students' homages are interspersed with their own blues lyrics, plainly and repeatedly lamenting "I cried and cried" or triumphantly asserting "Don't let nobody drag your spirit down" and "I am confident in myself." The simple-seeming sentiments ring of unaffected truth — wisdom, even — in equal measure to the awkward sincerity of the drawings and paintings, all of which appear to be excavated from bold inner sources of maturity. Viewed another way, though, such moments of poetic and visual invention are perhaps unattainable with the poise, self-consciousness and the wearied finesse of age. Nothin' But the Blues: Art and Writing by Area Students remains on display Tuesday through Saturday through Saturday, August 14, in the A.T. & T. Gallery of Children's Art in the Sheldon Art Galleries (3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www.sheldonconcerthall.org).
Tuesdays-Saturdays. Starts: May 1. Continues through Aug. 14, 2010

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