The children sat on the floor at the front of the room with artwork covering the ground. About 100 family and friends sat behind them in chairs. Artwork surrounded all of them as the children anticipated their awards and family members sat anticipated with cameras.
This past Monday local artist and proprietor Lisa Fazio Cotroneo held an award ceremony for her art students at the . Each year, the students receive awards based on how long they’ve been in Fazio’s program and how they’ve developed as an artist.
“Art has been my whole life,” Fazio said, who had put on the award ceremony every year for the past 18 years for all of her art students. She started holding the award ceremony because she “thought it was important for the kids to learn how to speak like an artist not just create art.”
Each student stood up and chose a piece of artwork to display for the audience and explained why he or she liked creating that piece.
“I like how [the watercolors] run on the paper,” one young boy said as he held his watercolor painting above his head for everyone to see.
Fazio’s art programs include kids from elementary school, middle school, and high school. The art programs range from weekly classes to longer workshops during the year and the summer.
Although her students vary in age a great deal, Fazio caters each program depending on age, skill level, and personality of her students. She also realizes that because of the range in ages, the time period for artistic development varies as well.
“You have to know when to push, when to pull back,” she saidd.
Fazio was an artist long before she became a teacher. Graduating from Parsons, she became an interior designer but changed her focus to her children when she became a mother. That’s when parents began to realize the types of art projects Fazio did with her children and soon asked her to teach their own kids.
From there, she began testing the waters in teaching, figuring out how long children could maintain their focus and what types of projects best enabled their younger creative spirits.
At first she started out classes at Mineola Memorial Library, but when the building went under construction, she needed a new place, thus creating her own studio, expanding the program within her home.
“I opened up my home to the kids and they’ve loved it ever since,” she said.