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Student art in Oak Harbor illustrates Halloween and Day of the Dead

North Whidbey Middle School 7th graders Katie Riley, 12 (left) and Kylie, 12, ready papel picado or paper cuts art for a student gallery exhibit in a vacant storefront on SE Pioneer Way. Art teacher Jon Aesoph offered the girls some advice on mounting the art. - Christine Smith
North Whidbey Middle School 7th graders Katie Riley, 12 (left) and Kylie, 12, ready papel picado or paper cuts art for a student gallery exhibit in a vacant storefront on SE Pioneer Way. Art teacher Jon Aesoph offered the girls some advice on mounting the art.
— image credit: Christine Smith

Students at North Whidbey Middle School pooled their talents to provide a creative diversion to the usual Halloween-week festivities.

Sixth, seventh and eighth-graders in art, Spanish, and home and family living classes collectively compiled a collection of artwork, using various media, and will be displaying their works in a gallery for public viewing.

Art teacher Jon Aesoph taught his students the art of papel picado, meaning “paper cuts,” and he decided the Mexican art form fit in well with both Spanish class and the Nov. 1 and 2 Mexican holiday of Los Dias de los Muertes, or Days of the Dead. Soon, the home and family living class wanted to join in, and created their own version of art — a skeleton made entirely out of fresh-baked bread and called “Bread of the Dead.”

The artwork will be on display Wednesday from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and Thursday and Friday from 3 to 5:30 p.m. in a currently vacant storefront at 880 SE Pioneer Way in downtown Oak Harbor.

Other artwork on display includes skeleton statuettes and miniature coffins with skeletons inside.

Aesoph said the Mexican celebration contrasts the American version of Halloween.

“Our own Halloween, which is essentially the same time, has become too mean spirited. And this is a nice way to look at death and dying and honoring those family members that have gone before,” Aesoph said.

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