Students at Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School are working this month to make their school a better place with the help of an artist-in-residence.
Joshua Winer, who is trained as an artist, architect and teacher, has been working with the students. When his stint at the school is completed Friday, three mosaics designed by students and constructed with his guidance will adorn the three columns in the entryway. Each will be about 18 square feet and contain about 500 tiles per square foot, he said.
High school art teacher Terri Adams said the project has been a great experience for students. All of those in her 9 to 12 classes have been involved, as well as staff and students who wanted to help during their free time, she said.
On Tuesday, students were grouting tiles on the first mosaic, which shows the Revolutionary War patriot that is the school’s mascot alongside the school and other imagery.
To be working alongside a nationally known artist is “a very unique opportunity,” Adams said. The project was sponsored by NBT Bank, the Cherry Valley-Springfield Endowment Foundation, the Cherry Valley-Springfield Central School Board of Education, the school’s Class of 2013, Chenango Arts Council and NYS Arts in Education.*
Senior Frances Bukovsky helped design and sketch the drawings on which the mosaics are based. She started a couple of months ago brainstorming with others about what students wanted to see, she said. The other panels include an eagle flying over the area landscape and a war drum, and the patriot and town monument. All include references to the townships that make up the merged district.
“It’s been a fantastic experience to collaborate with an established artist and to work with others to build school spirit,” she said, adding that she will be be attending college to study art and design. She said the project has helped her learn how to communicate ideas in a work that can be seen by others.
Samantha Bardwell is also a senior who was working on the project Tuesday. She said plans on taking art courses but will pursue other interests in college. The project has helped her learn to collaborate better, she said. It’s a creative outlet and Winer’s advice was really helpful in making it a good experience, she said.
Winer said he does about 10 school projects a year. A few of those he works with will become artists, he said, but most just want to be involved with a process that’s part of of an old tradition. When you work with students, he said, you get a lot back.
Superintendent Tim Ryan said the mosaics will create a welcoming atmosphere at the school.
“It’s something I would like to see more of,” he said.