What parents can resist saving their children's every art project? In the old days, drawings and paintings got hung on the refrigerator and then stored in a box in the attic.
But times have changed. "Thank goodness for digital technology," says Jeanine Prysock-Gonzalez of Uniondale. She photographed daughter Jeanisha's preschool artwork and turned it into a photobook at Walmart.com. Now she's working on a book of Jeanisha's elementary school art.
"I think it's really nice," says Jeanisha, now 9 and in fourth grade. "Otherwise, they might get crumpled up and stuff."
Here are various ways modern parents are displaying and preserving their children's masterpieces:
TAKE TO THE WEB
"There are some excellent websites where you can scan their artwork. Then it's an online gallery, and relatives who are far away can look at it," says Barbara Hirten, an art educator at Grand Avenue Middle School in Bellmore. She suggests Shutterfly.com or snapfish.com, mydrawings.me and paintdo.com. If you don't have a scanner, you can take digital photos and upload them. Make a picture book you can put on your coffee table, adding captions about when the art was created and what the child was thinking about the piece, Hirten suggests. You also can make the art into mugs, calendars, stationery, T-shirts and more.
HAVE YOUR SCHOOL SIGN UP
Some schools do the work for you by participating with a website called artsonia.com. "We photograph the work, we upload it to the site," says Danielle De Palma, an art teacher at Oakdale-Bohemia Middle School. Each child gets a code to give to family members, who can comment on pieces and buy items. "We sent an email to my grandma in upstate New York," says Nicholas Hull, an eighth-grader at the school who says he hopes she'll enjoy his first graphic poster, "All About Me."
PUT A STAMP ON IT
Elementary school art teacher Carrie Grillo has made her daughter Abigail's artwork into business-style calling cards at moo.com so Abigail can exchange her phone number with friends. Artwork also can be made into U.S. postage stamps that parents can use on their holiday cards or party invitations at photo.stamps.com.
MORE THAN JUST A FRAME
Dynamicframes.com sells frames that store 50 pieces of your child's art so you can rotate which one is displayed. Or use a digital frame that rotates snapshots of your child's art.
Grillo created a clothesline with Abigail, a first-grader at Boyle Road School in Port Jefferson Station. Abigail decorates the clothespins with rhinestones, paint or stickers, then she and Mom rotate her artwork. Grillo has had some paintings laminated at Staples or OfficeMax. Sometimes, she'll make them into place mats for Abigail.
Bonnie Hersch of Old Bethpage treasures a gift she was given by a friend, a wooden art-display clipboard with five clips attached and her children's names, Noah, 10, and Carly, 7, etched in the wood. The family hung it in the kitchen and rotates the kids' pictures in the clips. "Since we all spend so much time in the kitchen, it's a great place to show off their creativity," Hersch says.