Students take on teaching role at ‘Expressions’
by Glenn Moore
Feb 15, 2013 | 3848 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Students lead tours at Expressions
Tracy High senior Ciera Soliz discusses some of the artwork with a group of third graders from McKinley Elementary School at the Expressions exhibition at the Tracy Community Center with a group of McKinley Elementary School third grade students on Tuesday, Feb.12.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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Tracy High senior Ciera Soliz pointed to a bright piece of art hanging on the Tracy Community Center wall Tuesday, Feb. 12, and asked a group of McKinley Elementary School third-graders if they knew what it was made of.

“Cars!” they shouted, continuing a discussion about Angela Johal’s mixed-media piece “Driving in Circles,” one of the many works on display this week at the “Expressions” art exhibition at 950 East St.

Soliz, 17, is one of seven Tracy High art students that — for the first time — will join adult docents to lead nearly 3,000 Tracy Unified School District elementary students on tours of the art show through next week.

Tours continue Friday, Feb. 15, and Tuesday, Feb. 19, to Friday, Feb. 22, and will feature one student docent from Tracy High School each day.

Adding Tracy High art students to the mix is a new twist at this year’s annual exhibition, always a popular event with local schools.

“Expressions” co-chair Debby Ortega said spaces for the annual tours fill in one day, with a waiting list of classes for any last-minute openings. The show is open to the general public during evenings and weekends.

During the day, three classes at a time visit the exhibition, led by docents who lecture about the types of media used, artistic style and possible meanings of the artwork on display.

On Tuesday’s first day of tours, Soliz led more than 80 students, stopping to point out details and answer questions on works that included the Best of Show-winning oil painting by Jack Morris.

A third-year advanced art student, Soliz said it was the first time she has stepped into the role of teacher.

“I realize I know more about art than I thought I did,” Soliz said.

Tracy High art instructor Tom Coupe was among the volunteers Tuesday.

As he watched Soliz discuss a group of sculptures with the young students, he said the new program — as designed — was a great opportunity for older students to learn more about art.

“I think it’s great. It opens a whole new avenue of visual arts,” Coupe said. “The students will see it in a different way than in the classroom.”

Soliz took her group’s gaze from one painting to the next, soliciting opinions and thoughts about what students saw.

“I think it is good that they are coming here when they are really young and learn to be expressive and interpreting things on their own,” Soliz said.

Ortega, who also leads school tours, said each docent has a different focus.

“My focus is always (that) you don’t need any fancy things to make art — you can make art out of anything,” Ortega said.

After her third tour of the day, Soliz felt empowered from helping the younger students learn about art.

“I think it makes a difference — they look up to me on the tour,” she said. “I try to make it fun for them so they think, ‘Maybe I could do that.’”

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or

At a glance

• WHAT: “Expressions” art show

• WHEN: 6:30 to 9 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15; 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 16, to Friday, Feb. 22

• WHERE: Tracy Community Center, 950 East St.
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