Works by young Chinese art students on display in Cape Girardeau

Friday, October 9, 2009
Southeast Missouri State students of Art for Elementary Teachers critique works by the Guiyang Stars Children's Art School at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. (Kit Doyle)

Creativity knows no bounds. Children around the world paint, draw, sketch and create works of art that are indicative of their culture and family history.

During October, artwork created by children from the Guiyang Stars Children's Art School, in the Guizhou province in China, will be on display in Cape Girardeau.

The art school was founded 22 years ago by two parents who saw a need for art education in their poor community. Their daughter, Yunxue Fu, would later attend Southeast Missouri State University and become the catalyst to bring the exhibit to Cape Girardeau.

Yunxue Fu, better known to her teachers and peers as "Snow," studied art under Carol Horst at Southeast.

"Snow's parents came to visit her last Christmas, and we began talking more about the school and its foundation, which led to this exhibit," Horst said.

"Insects Fight" is just one of more than 90 pieces from the Stars Children's Art School on display at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. (LAURA SIMON)

The Guiyang Stars Children's Art School started as an in-home project for Snow's mother, and grew to more than 1,000 students and 20 teachers. Snow's father is headmaster, while her mother teaches and trains new teachers. The school doesn't have its own building; instead, it rents classrooms where two-hour classes are taught on the weekends.

Rather than take on a new project every week, the students are told a story and base their artwork on it. Snow's father is one of the storytellers as well. These stories may include cultural history, but they plant a creative seed that comes out in the children's artwork.

"It's a truly unique exhibit and a window into the Chinese culture," said Melissa Miller, executive director at the Arts Council of Southeast Missouri. "Looking at the art, it's hard to imagine that this is work done by elementary school-aged children. They are all very talented and creative."

Most of the works are on display at the arts council, but about 20 pieces were hung in Kent Library on Southeast's campus and pieces by Snow and her mother -- whose name is Ice in English -- are hung in the Black Door Gallery in a side exhibit called "Ice and Snow."

Each of the three sites have books with the children's art available for purchase. Books are $15, and $10 of that goes directly to the Guiyang Stars Children's Art School to help with improvements for the school and to cover the costs of shipping the exhibit around the world.

Before making its way to Cape Girardeau, the exhibit has been shown at the Beijing Art Museum, the Shanghai Art Museum as well as the Chinese National Art Museum. After the exhibit leaves Cape Girardeau on Nov. 1, it will travel to San Francisco.

The Arts Council Gallery is at 32 North Main St. in Cape Girardeau. More information on the exhibit and hours of operation are available at

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