By Belinda M. Paschal
PIQUA — They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and that saying rings true when it comes to an art project by students at Springcreek Primary School.
The project, a part of Piqua Arts Council’s Creative Classrooms program, which seeks to find cross-curriculum outcome-oriented projects for students to enhance the arts in education, said PAC Executive Director Jordan Knepper. In addition to Springcreek, first through third grade classes at Favorite Hill, Piqua Catholic and High Street are taking part in the art project.
“They’re recreating great artwork with recyclable materials, mostly plastic,” said Jordan Knepper, executive director of the Piqua Arts Council. “Cezanne, Picasso, Kandinksy, Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe are all being represented.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Springcreek teacher Karen Coverstone’s artwork was a hive of activity as the work of O’Keeffe was being re-created through the eyes of some 20 second graders.
The students were led by Janey Terry, a retired teacher from the Enon School District who is working with PAC on the project. They worked assembly-line style through stages of the creation process that included tearing pink and blue styrofoam containers into small bits, cutting squares from rolls of plastic and gluing these items to a large wooden board.
“It kind of sounds like broccoli snapping!” seven-year-old second-grader Chase Quinter said while breaking styrofoam pieces.
Classmate Patrick Bryant, 8, agreed. “This is actually kind of fun,” he said. “I kind of love doing this.”
Terry had the children rotate from table to table so that each group got a chance to participate in every phase of creating the mural.
“We’re using plastic, plastic pellets — anything we can find that is the right color and is recyclable,” Terry said. “All of the material has been recyclables and donated.”
The materials were donated by Crayex, New Tech, Plastipak Packaging and Special Waste Management, Knepper said.
The idea for the art project was borne from a discussion Knepper had with Piqua City Schools Superintendent Rick Hanes and Director of Curriculum Dwayne Thompson.
“Rick said that the new buildings didn’t have a budget for art and he’d love to see some artwork for the new buildings be created and he even suggested the recyclable materials,” Knepper said. “From his suggestion, I formed a basic plan for the project, then we hired Betsy Williamson to actually carry about the program. Betsy left the project when her long-term sub position started early and we hired Janey Terry.”
The finished projects will be framed, then hung in Piqua’s new school buildings when they open next year.
Belinda M. Paschal may be reached at (937) 773-2721 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall.