Archive for Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Westport gallery to show 5-year-old artist’s works

Marissa Hitt, 5, Shawnee, will be a featured artist this month at Hook Gallery in Westport.

Marissa Hitt, 5, Shawnee, will be a featured artist this month at Hook Gallery in Westport.

June 9, 2010

Marissa Hitt has reached the heights of many accomplished local artists.

What sets her apart from the rest? She’s 5 years old.

The Shawnee resident will be a featured artist at Hook Gallery in Westport for 30 days, starting with a gallery debut Saturday.

“I like to paint butterflies, birds and a bunch of stuff,” Marissa said. “My Mama promised to take me to the park so I can paint there. I like painting because it’s graceful, like relaxing and stuff.”

A few times a week, you can find Marissa in her art studio, a small area in the family’s basement, dancing to classical music with a paintbrush in hand.

Marissa’s journey into art began before she even came to Shawnee.

Terri and Dennis Hitt adopted Marissa from China when she was 10 months old.

“I was never a painter but I had a strong desire to paint her room with flowers before she came home to us,” Terri said. “So I bought acrylic paint and brushes. Then I put them away and I had all these things that I never would have had before to give her. God knew she was going to be my daughter, it’s neat the way He works.”

Now, Marissa spends a few hours a week bringing two cultures together in her basement studio.

“People say her paintings are East meets West, which her dance teacher said about her dancing,” Terri said. “We try to keep art work from China around the house, and she takes classes from a woman in Shawnee that was from China. About 90 percent of her students are adopted, and it builds their relationships and they get to incorporate their culture.”

Marissa understands where she’s from and the life that some children in China still live, that’s why she’s asked that a percentage of the proceeds from her art go to the orphanage she lived in before being adopted.

“I like helping people; Mama said I’m a good helper,” she said. “They are poor and don’t have enough money, so I want to give them some.”

Marissa never set out to sell her paintings. But once family and friends saw her work, they began offering to buy the paintings.

“She does really well; people think her paintings are beautiful,” Terri said. “She’s always gracious and kind. She humbles me a lot.”

Marissa has learned to be gracious when listening to other’s opinions of her paintings.

“They are all different, some are good, some are OK; people like different things,” she said.

Terri said they’ve taught her that people will have different feelings about her paintings, but that she should always paint what she feels.

“She’s also understanding that some paintings (can be sold), so she puts our names (Mama and Daddy) on the back if she wants us to keep them,” Terri said.

Marissa is already looking to a future in the arts, both in painting and dancing.

“I always say I’m going to dance around the world,” Marissa said. “I think I’ll do that. I told Daddy there is a room off the basement that can be my studio when I run out of room.”

For now, Marissa is looking forward to being featured in the gallery.

“I’m very excited for the show is coming up,” she said. “I hope people see grace in the paintings.”

The showcase runs from 4 to 8 p.m. on Saturday at Hook Gallery, 4120 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo.

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