Artistic Bonding: Parents Share Class with Students

Margarita and Nicolas Torres look at the charcoal still life drawing he worked on in Susan Selvaggio’s art class at Sinaloa Middle School Tuesday.

Nicolas Torres really likes art.

The 7th grader from Sinaloa Middle School said that drawing is his favorite part of Susan Selvaggio’s art class.

The love of art is something he shares with his mom, Margarita Torres. And it’s the reason why she came to visit his art class this week, at Selvaggio’s invitation.

“He likes art very much,” Margarita Torres said. “I wanted to see the teacher. And I miss school.”

Sitting next to each other, mother and son each worked on their own still life charcoal drawing of the arrangement sitting in the middle of the classroom. They stopped often to compare work and share a smile.

Each year, Selvaggio invites parents to join a class or two with their children.

“I started it a few years ago because I was so impressed by what the kids were doing that I didn’t want to be the only one watching,” she said. “And the kids get so excited about having their parents come.”

On Monday, a handful of parents came to class. Parents had the choice of attending one of several scheduled times.

Jeanette Daghestanian (left), is helped with a drawing technique by daughter Olivia Daghestanian as friend Maggie Sidway looks on.
Jeanette Daghestanian (left), is helped with a drawing technique by daughter Olivia Daghestanian as friend Maggie Sidway looks on.

Jeanette Daghestanian is an old-pro at Selvaggio’s art class. With two older sons now attending Royal High School, Daghestanian has visited art before. With daughter Olivia, she got to come once more.

“I’m involved with the school and I wanted to come and do art with her,” she said. “I came here with my son and I loved it. And I wanted to be here with her.”


While the students sketch and draw, Selvaggio dims the lights so the focal light is on the still life arrangement. There is a cow’s skull, a couple of pots and vases and branches. Students focused on one or two objects in their drawings.

Selvaggio stops the class near the end to¬†demonstrate techniques for how to draw the branches. The rolling-stop motion of the pencil creates breaks in the drawn line that help “build” the branches in a realistic way. Around the class, the students and parents sit fascinated by her demo.


Isabel Lawrence and her mom, Dana, take their art very seriously. Both said art was a favorite class for them. Working side-by-side, Dana Lawrence said her daughter is crazy about art and this opportunity was too much fun to pass up.


Selvaggio walks around the room, offering tips and encouragement to students and parents. Nicholas calls her over to check on his progress.

“First, let me tell you mom how happy I am to have you in my class,” she said to Margarita Torres. “He’s a wonderful students and talented too!”

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