Montclair Student Art Available for All World to See; Children's Work Is Posted on the Web, Where It Can Be Purchased on Coffee Cups, T-Shirts and Key Chains

Article excerpt

Byline: BETH REESE CRAVEY

The creations of Montclair Elementary art teacher Joy Batten's students are displayed on a far larger tableau than the wall outside her classroom or their parents' refrigerators.

They're on display on the World Wide Web.

Montclair is part of Artsonia.com, which bills itself as the "largest student art museum in the world," where wall space never ends.

Faraway grandparents can see the students' work - and buy a mug, T-shirt, key chain or greeting card featuring one of their creations.

Students can compare their work with classmates at Montclair or swap art notes with students in Japan.

And Batten doesn't have to worry about which pieces to keep in her limited classroom storage space.

The possibilities are endless, she said, and the students love having their own individual, online art galleries.

"They think they're famous," Batten said. "The kids are able to feel like they're part of a community."

Her fifth-grade students agreed.

"You can just go anywhere and see their art," said Benny DiRocco.

Jordan Littles said he enjoys being part of the international art world.

"You can compare your art and see if you can do what they can do," he said. "You can chat with friends and see how they're doing with their art."

Johnny Hashtak appreciates the commercial aspects.

"I like the way they can sell things with your art on it," he said.

Batten appreciates that as well. She gets a 15 percent take for her classroom.

Artsonia tracks the Web site activity, postings, comments and sales that stem from each gallery. Montclair ranked fifth in Florida and 66th in the country in participation, a statement from the Web site said.

For the 2007-08 school year, Batten posted 2,665 pieces of student art, which were visited 33,040 times and received 883 comments, the statement said. …