Karen Miranda was with her 8-year-old daughter Aida Gutierrez, a third-grader at Sandy Hook Elementary School, at a recent art fair showcasing student art throughout the school over a two-day period.

The art fair was held to celebrate March, which is Youth Art Month.

“Art is important. It is essential for children and their imagination,” Miranda said. “It is important that from the challenging math, science it gives them a break.”

First-grader Catherine King, 6, who was with her mom and dad at the art fair, said she enjoys creating art.

“I get to show it to my mom and then I also have art class,” Catherine said.

Teacher Rayanna Davis said she knew the school had not had an art show in many years, so she made it her goal to highlight student art. She began planning the art show as soon as she was hired.

Davis has been a teacher for 15 years and has been teaching at Sandy Hook for six years. This is her first year of teaching art. In the past, she has been a primary grade classroom teacher, an instructional coach and a math specialist.

“I believe that art education is important because it allows for creative exploration, which helps students with their problem-solving and critical thinking skills,” Davis said.

She added that she believes that in a “high stakes academic environment” schools can lose sight of the “whole child.”

“I am an advocate for teaching the entire student, which means art education, music education, physical movement, along with science, social studies, reading and math,” Davis said.

– Contact Melissa Topey at mtopey@nvdaily.com