Meet 10-year-old student artist Isaiah Roberts
Creator of “Gumball” Inflatable in Rainbow City
Ten-year-old Isaiah Roberts’s mom asked a friend last April if she would drive them to ArtBreak because she didn’t have a car. She had heard about the Shreveport Regional Arts Council (SRAC) annual event with hands-on art activities and thousands of pieces of student art filling the Shreveport Convention Center each April. She wanted Isaiah to experience how SRAC puts the Art in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math learning and to just have fun making art.
There is no way she could have known that Isaiah would create a piece of art he named “Gumball.”
His concept would capture the attention of Academy Award-winning animation artist and author William (Bill) Joyce and the two world-renowned Los Angeles FriendsWithYou artists Arturo Sandoval III and Samuel L. Borkson.
Isaiah’s design was chosen to be fabricated into the featured inflatable that led the Rainbow City Shreveport parade and now sits at the entrance of Rainbow City at Caddo Common park to welcome all visitors.
Isaiah moved with his family to Texas not long after being recognized during ArtBreak 2019, but all of Shreveport plans to welcome him back to see “Gumball” in all his colorful, 20-foot, Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade-style glory at the entrance to Rainbow City on Saturday, Dec. 7. Isaiah will greet visitors throughout the day.
Saturday, Dec. 7, starts early with “Whimsical Waffles and Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream” made by Red Ball Oxygen and posing for a photo with Nicholas St. North from 10 a.m. to noon in Rainbow City. Tickets are available at www. FriendsWithYouShreveport.com.
ArtBreak has been celebrating the visual, literary and performance art of students in Caddo Parish public, private, charter and home schools for 35 years. Isaiah Roberts now stars as one of the biggest student artists ever recognized!
ArtBreak features more than 100 Caddo and Bossier Parish and private schools, more than 50 hands-on art learning activities, more than 100 school and community performances, and more than 3,000 student works of art. It is no wonder that it has become the platform for showcasing the STEAM movement — adding “Art” to STEM—in an effort to show how art and science are better togetherart.
The executive director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council, Pam Atchison, says, “When we began working with the FriendsWithYou artists in their local residency with SRAC, we all agreed that ArtBreak would be a terrific way to introduce the creative process that goes into building an entire city of inflatable art installations that are colorful, whimsical, interactive and just fun.” One look at that giant “Gumball” with its great big smile and its colorful torso, and you’ll agree that Bill Joyce, Arturo and Samuel made the perfect choice when they
selected Isaiah’s design to be fabricated You can see “Gumball” for yourself at the entrance to Rainbow City in Caddo Common at 869 Texas Ave., downtown Shreveport. Rainbow City is open and free to the public every day 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Sunday, Dec. 8. On Saturday mornings, local artists are in the heated Cloud Nine tent to do free hands-on activities with children from noon to 4 p.m. You can even book at friendswithyoushreveport.com to have your birthday party in Rainbow City. Visit www.FriendsWithYouShreveport.com for complete details.
There is also a FriendsWithYou Retrospective Exhibition featuring the work of the FriendsWithYou Artist Collective of Arturo Sandoval and Samuel Borkson at artspace until Saturday, Dec. 21, at 708 Texas St. in downtown Shreveport. Visit www.artspaceshreveport.com for complete details.