Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese REPORT
28 Nov 2011
Yesterday on the first Sunday of Advent, the Cardinal officially opened the Children's Christmas Story Art Exhibition which this year attracted 15,000 artworks from primary school children.
Students, parents, teachers and friends gathered for the opening in the Crypt of St Mary's Cathedral where 90 of the works will be displayed until 7 January.
And it was obvious there are a lot of very talented children - as well as proud parents.
However the artworks must also be accompanied by a short reflection by the junior artists on what their painting and Christmas means to them.
As Cardinal Pell told the gathering these reflections are just as important as the artwork itself.
An initiative of Cardinal Pell, the annual Children's Christmas Story Exhibition and Competition is now in its fifth year with Catholic primary schools as well as students from religious classes in state schools invited to take part.
"We estimate that as many as 15,000 students from across the Archdiocese and the Diocese of Wollongong take part," says John Charadia , Archdiocesan Creative Arts Adviser with the Catholic Education Office.
"From each Year 5 and Year 6 class in each school, three works are chosen and from these 900 entries, we choose 89 as finalists and winners to be part of the exhibition in the Crypt," he says.
But no child is disappointed and the entries from each participating school then put on their own exhibition of A Christmas Story - their painting and reflection.
"To have 15,000 children thinking about Christmas and the birth of Christ and what this means to them is a great achievement," he says and admits that each year judging finalists and winners becomes more and more difficult.
"Over the years individual works have always surprised us with their sense of colour, design, maturity and powerful message. But this year all the artworks we saw are of such a uniformly high standard that choosing winners and finalists has become harder and harder," he says.
Among the artworks on display at the Crypt are works in charcoal, acrylics, watercolours, oils as well as collages and other medium.
"The beauty and inspiration of both the visual and written words is outstanding," John says and urges everyone, no matter what their age to take time out over the next few weeks to visit the Crypt and enjoy this very special Exhibition.
The Exhibition of A Children's Christmas Story is on display at the Crypt between 10 am and 4 pm from Monday to Thursday each week. Fridays the exhibition is also open but times need to be checked with St Mary's Cathedral first as hours vary if a wedding is planned for that day.