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Bayside girl’s love of birds helps painting take flight

At least that was Summer Jing's impression when she created her masterpiece painting for the United Nations 14th International Children's Painting Competition. The competition was centered around the "Green Cities" theme, a concept that prompted the gifted first-grade art student to imagine a greener New York City habitat existing in commune with its many birds.For Jing, birds are the key to any good green city."For my painting, I painted birds and trees and a city in the background because I like to paint birds and trees and they're so beautiful," she said. "The trees make the city green and the birds sing and make the picture warm and happy."It's a bright perspective that paid off in the long run when her painting of the city and its trees and birds was selected as one of 31 finalists, 10 of which were borne out of Little Picasso Studio in Flushing, to represent the North American contingent at the UN environmental painting competition to be held in Tokyo.Jing's mother, Cecelia, said she encourages her daughter to tap into her creative side."I'm amazed at her skill because we don't have any background in art," said the elder Jing, who keeps all her daughter's pictures. "She has a very good painting skill now. It's very mature. To me it's not only drawing, but it increases her IQ somehow."Little Picasso founder Kevin Hu said that's all part of the plan. The Georgetown University art major instructs his teachers to tailor their lessons around creating and cultivating the idea before actually creating the piece."We teach kids to have an open mind," Hu said. "This is very important. Most other studios (are) always just drawing. They never have talks. We learn about the technique, then the elements, and then we create."Little Picasso Studio recently moved from Manhattan to Flushing and will soon open a new location in Elmhurst. Since entering the contest, the school has blossomed from the success of its 10 North American representatives. Parents, UN representatives and Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney (D-Astoria) have all written letters to the students and the teachers, commending them on a job well done."Your painting illustrates the clear difference between a city that is polluted and a city that cares for the environment," wrote Maloney in her letter of congratulations to Little Picasso Studio "Best in Class" winner Nina Hu of Manhattan. Hu was awarded for the best North American painting in her 6-12 age bracket.All the paintings are currently en route to Japan to compete against paintings from Europe, Africa, Asia and the Pacific, West Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean. Winners will be announced in San Francisco on June 1.Even if she doesn't win the competition, Jing said that's not going to stop her from painting her favorite subject: birds."I like making the birds because they make the whole world warm," she said,"especially when they sing in the backyard every morning."Additional Little Picasso winners include, Yeewen New of Whitestone, Cindy Zhou of Bayside, Kevin Wu of Maspeth, Jenny Liu of Forest Hills, Eric Hu of Manhattan, Kevin Wang of Jackson Heights, Sean Liu of Forest Hills, and Selina Wang of Bayside.Reach reporter Scott Sieber by e-mail at or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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