Swain holds student art show
Art inspiration can come from anywhere: a collection of colors, a favorite food, work by another artist.
For Keeler Nichols, a fifth-grader at The Swain School, 1100 S. 24th Street, Salibury Township, inspiration came from lips and teeth of a gargoyle she saw in a picture in art class. Nichols, of Breinigsville, created her own gargoyle from clay and painted it to look like stone.
"It was really, really fun to make and we got to sculpt and sculpt and sculpt and sculpt," Nichols said of the experience.
Nichols' work was among the pieces displayed at the annual student art show at The Swain School, an event started 24 years ago when art teacher Barbara Ward joined the faculty.
The show features at least one work from each student in kindergarten through the eighth grade at the school. This year's featured art included paintings of Chinese dragons and mountains, drawings of sunsets, sculptures made of junk, gargoyles, mobiles, self-portraits, stretched silk scarves, painted chairs, poetry and jewelry. Students made jewelry with artist Ann Lalik, gallery director and arts coordinator, and metalsmithing professor at Penn State Lehigh Valley campus, as part of a week-long art-in-residency program at the school.
Ward and fellow art teachers Trisha Samuel and Kathleen Dent put together the show. The show was held May 1 to 3 at the school.
New to this year's show were guided tours conducted by upper level students for their younger schoolmates. Ward said the docent program was modeled on the existing buddy program in place at the school. In the buddy program, older students "adopt" younger students in a mentoring relationship. The buddy relationship lasts an academic year. The docent/gallery visitor relationship lasted about 20 minutes and tours were conducted within the older students' 80 minute art class period.
"They give four tours in their 80 minutes," Ward said.
Students created the art featured in the art show during class time. Madison Reger, of East Greenville, a fifth-grader, worked on her stained glass picture over four weeks. Inspiration for her came from a dessert.
"I wanted to do something different. I wanted to do a food so I did a pie."
The art technique uses colored tissue paper to simulate stained or colored glass. Black construction paper stands in for the strips of lead that outline and define the elements within a stained glass picture. Reger represented the steam of her cooling pie with blue tissue paper set in paper cut in curved shapes.
Gianna Carosella, of Allentown, a fifth-grader, used the same technique, drawing inspiration more from color than a specific object. Carosella incorporated tissue paper panels of orange and blue with panels of yellow, pink and turquoise in her work.
"I was thinking of a lot of different things to do," she said.
Materials from glue guns and shoe polish to plastic toy sheriffs badges and clay were used to create art for the show.
Eighth grade students built and painted chairs to reflect the style of an American artist the student researched. Keith Haring, Georgia O'Keeffe, and Mary Cassatt were among the artists interpreted by Swain students.
"It is a nice show," Ward said.