One more for the road

by Matt Benoit

Horizon Reporter

For the faculty, staff, parents, and children who filled the hallways and classrooms of Whatcom’s Child Development Center on the evening of May 25 for its 18th annual art show, it was understandably bittersweet.

With just over three weeks until the CDC’s closure as part of alleviating Whatcom’s most recent institutional budget cuts, this year’s show will likely be the facility’s last.

Hallways were decorated with the color-splashed and often rather abstract artwork of the CDC’s children, along with their pictures and names. Blue and green streams of paper hung from the ceiling, and other student artwork covered tables and cabinets. Food filled tables in one of the rooms, and a memory guest book laid open waiting to be signed.

“It was just like any other year, except it was sad,” said Diane Bos, food coordinator for the CDC. “There was a teary eye at the end.”

Bos, who has worked at the facility since 1999, said she set up for art show by preparing one of the CDC’s rooms and then gathering all the food brought as part of the event’s potluck.

“It went real smooth,” she said.

Food and artwork were enjoyed from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., as well as a scrapbook with past years’ photos.

Sean Donoghue-Neider, a Whatcom student and assistant teacher at the CDC, spent most of the previous day decorating the facility for the event, and said that the focus was to make it a celebration in spite of the depressing situation. He estimated the turnout to be possibly the biggest they’ve had.

Jean McMahon, lead pre-school teacher at the CDC, said the art show began when the CDC was located on Northwest Road. Feeling a lack of connections between the facility and Whatcom’s main campus, it was decided to bring children’s artwork to Whatcom’s Laidlaw Center to be displayed in the halls for about two weeks.

A reception was then planned where families and children could attend to enjoy the artwork. When the CDC moved to its current facility in Kelly Hall, the event moved with it.

McMahon, who was once a student at Whatcom taking Early Childhood Education classes, has helped facilitate and organize the art shows for many years, and is proud to have been a part of all 18 of them.

The evening came to a close in one of the classrooms with a series of sing-along songs, including “Slippery Fish” and “Eensy-Weensy,” performed by McMahon on the acoustic guitar and vocals, and Donoghue-Neider on the harmonica.

The singing ended somewhat emotionally at 7 p.m., and people spilled out of the room where’d they’d gathered. Many signed the guestbook before leaving. As the printed agendas for the event said, it was now “time to go home.”

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