By Joseph Pratt
Students of Northwest High School are reaping the benefits of learning from a professional artist, after wrapping-up a community service project that will impact the area for years to come. Many of the Artist-In-Residency programs coordinated by the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center’s Gifted Services Department are often used to produce permanent installations in the community.
Director Sharee Price organizes these events for local schools every year. She says that the programs teach unique art forms to the students, as well as the art of giving back. The art created by Northwest will stand for years in a public setting for them, their families, and the community to enjoy.
The program had students meeting with artist Matt Paskiet on a daily basis for three weeks. The students worked together to create twenty-four glass panels designed specifically for the LIFE Center.
SOMC’s Wendi Waugh, as well as her staff, gave the students a tour of the LIFE Center on the first day of the residency and they were directed to pay close attention to everything they saw so they could use it as inspiration for their artwork.
Some of the glass panels are abstract and some are more realistic, but every panel depicts something the students saw in, or around, the LIFE Center.
“This is my second year working with this program and I have to really brag on Sharee Price. There is a ton of work that she puts forward, from planning the early stages to finishing the last touches. I am honored to be a part of this program and I am constantly amazed by the final products created by local students in these programs.”
Waugh said that she believes the latest art addition to SOMC will impact a lot of people.
“Over 175,000 visits are had at the Portsmouth LIFE Center every year,” Waugh said. “These glass pieces are a wonderful gift to receive from Sharee, the artist, and all of the involved Northwest students.”
The glass art was presented to the SOMC LIFE Center on Oct. 7. A reception was held, which was the culminating event of the three-week residency of the Ohio Arts Council Artist. The pieces are in the lobby.
During his residency, Matt worked with students at Northwest High School, parents of the Northwest students who were involved in the project, art students at Shawnee State University, and high school art teachers during a professional development meeting at the ESC.
“I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to continuously receive grants from the Ohio Arts Council to provide our Artist-in-Residency Programs,” Price said. “The experience the students gain from working with a professional artist expands not only their knowledge of the arts, but their appreciation as well. Our focus is not to produce professional artists, although we love it when that happens, but for each student to experience the process of making art and working alongside a professional artist.”
The program had major support from the school district, and has had a lasting impact on the staff and students, according to Price.
“Northwest Superintendent, Mr. Todd Jenkins, was very supportive of this project and was instrumental in obtaining the necessary equipment for the Artist-in-Residency,” Price said. “Northwest High School now has a state of the art kiln that can be used for firing both glass and clay. It will benefit not only the students who are using it now, but will be there for the use of future art students at Northwest.”
Art teacher Chris Enz said his students thoroughly enjoyed the project and were absorbed in learning the new trade the entire time. He said this is a common thing for studies taught by artists through residency programs.
“He introduced us to an entirely new medium. I had never considered using it in the classroom, because I had never used it before,” Enz explained. “He not only taught the kids, but he also taught me, so we can continue to work with glass, which is good, because now the kids don’t want to stop.”
Reach Joseph Pratt at 740-353-3101, ext. 1932, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03