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Parish Episcopal 5th grade student Abby J. donated a very special painting, 18 months in the works, to Medical City Children's Hospital. Abby began the concept of the piece in 1st grade when she was taking art from Ruth Keefer, Lower School Art teacher at Parish. Recently Ruth helped her to transfer the image to a larger 20 x 30 canvas so that it could hang prominently in the Hospital.

The project dates back to 2013, when Abby hoped to expand her artistic abilities and her mother looked to Keefer, her first Parish art teacher, for guidance. During her years on the Hillcrest Campus, Abby developed a connection with Mrs. Keefer that culminated in a trip to New York City to view Abby's Panda Bear ink illustration briefly on display at The Big Screen Plaza.

Abby's exceptional relationship with Mrs. Keefer was quickly rekindled as they began a series of private lessons through the ParishEXTEND program to expand Abby’s passion for art and her artistic sensibilities. After working with Abby for several weeks on the Midway campus, Mrs. Keefer presented a community service opportunity to Mrs. Jackson and Abby immediately accepted. Mrs. Keefer proposed that Abby recreate a prior, original work into a large canvas painting to be donated to a local hospital for permanent display. 

This inspiring goal came to fruition over the next 18 months as Mrs. Keefer volunteered her time and Abby applied new capabilities and skill refinement from her prior work to her large-scale painting. Her new color palette is more sophisticated, and her depiction of  animals, objects and girl have advanced due to years of instruction. Mrs. Keefer feels honored to have had an opportunity to mentor Abby during this community service project, not only because of Abby’s obvious talent, but because of her dedication to her craft.

Nicole and Sheryl Jutras, regular art volunteers at our Hillcrest campus, facilitated the placement of this large canvas work at Medical City Children's Hospital. In the past, the Jutras family had identified an opportunity to host a collection of ceramic L.O.V.E. tiles (first grade work, class of 2025) at the hospital and they were again quick to support a young Parish Arts project when Mrs. Keefer approached them with plans for placement of this community service painting.

Mrs. Keefer has been documenting student works on Artsonia, an electronic kid’s museum, since 2010. Each second grade student's masterpiece from the 2011 second grade ‘Imaginary Pet' works, may be viewed here:

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