VisionQuest teens get a taste of art via Internet

December 05, 1996


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

SOUTH MOUNTAIN, Pa. - Eight juveniles serving time at VisionQuest were offered visions of art and the Internet Wednesday, courtesy of Penn State-Mont Alto college students from Nancy Funk's integrative arts class.

The youths serving time at the juvenile rehabilitation facility saw images downloaded from the Internet from artists including black painter Alonzo Adams, French sculptor Milo Dias and architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

"We wanted to show them that even though they've had hard times there are artists who have had hard times and succeeded," said Brent Stoner, 20, of Chambersburg.


"It's been a good experience," said student John Pace, 28, who plans on becoming a computer engineer. Pace took the art class as an elective and created computer templates for other students to use. "I get to learn about art and teach people about it with computers."

"This was a great opportunity to share these things with these students," said Shaheida McKendrick, 18.

The VisionQuest youths were thankful. "It's nice of them to give their time up because all I've got is time on my hands," said one.

"It's nice because they weren't scared of us," said another. "They were just acting like people."

At the end of the hour, the VisionQuest boys didn't want to leave, saying they would rather stay with the computers than eat lunch.

VisionQuest art teacher Richard Hartman said the interaction was good for both groups. "Anything you can do to show them that there is a whole other world out there (is positive)," he said. "You might spark an interest." It also was a good opportunity to reward those who had performed well at VisionQuest and had complained that they don't get any attention unless they do something bad.

"There are a lot of stereotypes about these kids," he said. "I think it's good to try and dispel those myths.

"In a very real sense, they are just kids. They smile just like anyone else."

The art class already has brought their traveling multimedia show to the Alexander Hamilton Library in Waynesboro, where students showed artworks from artists for whom the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named - Donatello, Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo.

The class will head for Penn Hall in Chambersburg today to give another presentation.

Funk said she wanted to give area youth and seniors an exposure to art masterpieces. "It's stupid in my opinion just to learn something and keep it to yourself, and I'm a firm believer in community service."

Two years ago, she and a student helped teach sixth-graders at Fairview Elementary. Last year, Funk and other students went to a Gettysburg retirement home. But this year was the first year computers were used in the demonstrations.

"Not all of the students back in August even knew how to turn on a computer," she said.

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