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And ‘Mudville’ made an appearance at Lititz El’s hall of art fame
Local students showed off their considerable talents at the 6th Annual District Art Show last weekend at Lititz Elementary School. The display of works by first through 12th graders brought out eager family, friends and community members who admired paintings, collages and ceramics all made by over 600 creative young artists.
Warwick School District Superintendent Dr. April Hershey was one of the first to arrive on opening night, and Nate Nixdorf, teacher and art department head, shared his pride in the collective effort.
“One of the things that make Lititz a special community is the support of the arts,” he said. “The support from the district provides art in the classroom and students get the chance to explore and to express themselves.”
That kind of creativity was all over the colorful picture by John Beck Elementary third-grader Justin Charles. “It’s a buildings made of cylinders with crayons and markers,” Justin said. He used strong shades of pink, orange and blue. Orange is his current favorite color “because it looks good,” he said.
Edan Lawson, a 5th grader at Kissel Hill Elementary, chose complementary hues of blue watercolors for her interpretation of flowers in a pitcher. “People here want to see the creativity of the students,” she said. Edan tries to work hard on her art and asks for art supplies for gifts.
Chayse Forney, in the 8th grade at Warwick Middle School, took a colorful and interesting look at twisting pencils for his project; and 10th grader Kristin Sellers presented a well done charcoal still life of vegetables.
All of this was going on amid the background music of the Orff Orchestra Ensemble which is made up of 5th and 6th grade students from Lititz Elementary. The musicians were perched above the art show area and provided another example of the young artistic talent in our community and of the dedication of their teachers.
Happy, happy, happy was the feeling you got from seeing the painting of three stuffed animals on paper by Caitlin Piehl and the similar one by Autumn Horst, both second graders at John R. Bonfield Elementary. “They’re sitting on green grass,” Caitlin said, which is meant to show that the subjects of her work are, indeed, happy. Both girls will keep their pictures in prominent positions in their rooms at home.
There was a charitable aspect to the student show with special paintings by members of the local National Arts Honor Society for sale. The proceeds, over $500, benefit the cause to cure pediatric cancer through the Four Diamonds Fund at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital as part of the high school’s miniTHON. The works were artfully displayed and many were sold by Saturday morning.
For Selena Peraza, in the 11th grade at Warwick High School, it was all about interpretation. Her artist’s eye was looking for something different. “I wanted to make something that describes a person being confused. It has a good facial expression,” she said of her face jug. The firm mouth and prominent eyes and nose of her blue ceramic creation hit that mark for sure.
While the art on the walls was an impressive display, something else is going on in the classroom besides painting, drawing, pasting and creating. “Art in the classroom is exciting,” Nixdorf reminds us. “It teaches discipline and how to manage time,” among other things.
Kissel Hill Elementary art teacher Kelle Stork tries to make each child successful. “I ask them to look into their world for ideas and inspiration,” she said. Her students learn all kinds of things in addition to drawing. “What can you learn about looking at a portrait,” she asks her students. They observe the physical description and setting of the subject and think about what their facial expression and clothing might tell them about that person so they can learn and imagine more about him.
One of the standout works was an oil painting by 12th grader Collin Dimitris whose profile of a baseball player in a batting stance exhibited his good eye and technique with attention to the details on the folds and shadows of the uniform, the tattoo and intense facial expression.
Josh Benjamin, 11th grade, chose to paint his grandfather’s military ring against a muted green background for a dramatic impact. His effort was based on the study of color.
There were no awards or “best of show” prizes at this event. The pride these students and the community take in their work is what is most rewarding of all. As one visitor said upon exiting the show, “That was cool.”
Jane Crawford is a freelance feature writer who has a background in radio, television and print reporting and is happy to be a new resident of Lititz. This is her first assignment for the Record Express.