New York-based Park West Gallery artist, Leslie Lew, visited the Focus: HOPE Center for Children on June 19 as part of a series of free art education workshops sponsored by Park West Gallery in Southfield.
Lew, a renowned American neo-pop artist, uses “Buki’s Garden,” a story she wrote and illustrated, to tell the tale of a not-so-attractive kitty who shows that being different can have its advantages. Lew’s “Buki’s Garden Workshop” was made possible by a grant she received in 2004 from the New York Arts Council for the purpose of helping artists enrich the quality of life in their various communities.
The object lesson of “Buki’s Garden” is to teach children of all ages that being different is nothing to be ashamed of, since we are all different in many ways. The message Lew seeks to impart on children is that differences among people, even those in the animal kingdom, are a natural part of life. She highlights the fact that diversity, on all levels, enhances rather than detracts from who we are as human beings.
Lew begins her workshops by reading the story of “Buki,” after which the children are given an opportunity to discuss the book, comment on what they’ve learned and encouraged to ask questions. Lew then uses her own special touch to transform the painting portion of her workshops into a magical moment her young artists will cherish for the rest of their lives. Every child is given their own 3-D version of “Buki” which Lew has mounted on white canvas board outlined in black. The kids are given an assortment of colors with which to paint their own versions of “Buki” and turned loose to express their own unique creativity.
“Leslie is not only an extraordinarily gifted artist, but a person of enormous charity and goodwill who utilizes her talents to enrich the lives of others and instill in them an appreciation and love for art,” said Albert Scaglione, founder and CEO of Park West Gallery.
Lew works in sculpted oil, utilizing sculpturally rich swirls of vivid color to capture on canvas the essence of whatever image she is creating and bringing it to life. Lew has exhibited her art at museums and galleries throughout the United States and across the world including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, London and Sofia, Bulgaria.
“It gives me great joy and a sense of personal fulfillment to be able to introduce young children to the amazing world of art, and teach them that painting can be fun,” Lew said. “Who knows? Maybe some of these children will one day become artists, or at least use the medium as a recreational outlet.” Click here to view photos. Click here for a TV20 report on Lew's program at Focus: HOPE.
About Park West Gallery
Founded in 1969 by Albert Scaglione, Park West Gallery has brought the experience of collecting fine art to more than 1.4 million customers around the world, through art auctions on cruise ships and in major metropolitan areas, and via gallery locations in Michigan and Florida. Park West Gallery’s mission is to create an entertaining, educational and welcoming environment that ignites a passion for the arts and offers an incomparable collecting experience. Park West Gallery supports a myriad of artistic talent, advocates genuine artistry and maintains the highest of professional standards.
Leslie Lew created the story of Buki to open discussion about diversity.