Students use art mediums to see things they don't normally see

April 15, 2010|By JENNIFER FITCH
  • Brandon Placko, 11, stands in front of the seahorse project her painted for the Franklin (Pa.) Learning Center art show Thursday in Chambersburg, Pa.
Jennifer Fitch, Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. --Vibrant colors filled a hallway in the Franklin Learning Center on Thursday as students showed off their artistic interpretations of far-off places.

Students studied the rain forest, desert and sea in their art classes this year, using various mediums to illustrate the animals that live in those habitats. Art teacher Holly Shearer said students ages 5 to 21 tapped into their imaginations to see the places they might never visit.

"We brought them here," she said of the different lands.

Shearer incorporated nontraditional art techniques to accommodate the various abilities of her 175 students with special needs. For example, the students with multiple disabilities pressed paint-covered bubble wrap onto paper to mix textures and colors that represent coral.

"It's a good sensory project," she said.

In another lesson, students rolled painted marbles across construction paper to create striped clown fish. They glued uncooked noodles together to make starfish.


Brandon Placko, 11, of Waynesboro, Pa., said he enjoys art class.

"You make things in there," he said.

Brandon showed off the blue colors he swirled in a sea horse project. He also created a jellyfish by coloring on a coffee filter, then dampening it with water. Staff attached scrap pieces of laminate to dangle like tentacles when the jellyfish are suspended from the ceiling.

"We talked about animals that live under the sea, and then I showed them how to draw them simply," Shearer said.

Students who made hibiscus flowers covered the paper with powdered paints and swirled ice cubes over them.

Shearer, who has worked at the Franklin Learning Center for three years, said she jokingly calls the art projects her "2 a.m. ideas" because they come to her late at night. She said many art initiatives incorporate other subjects, such as the lizards that students measured with rulers.

"These kids have so much potential," Shearer said, saying art class often provides a release for students with emotional issues.

When not looking at the projects, students and parents gathered during the art show for a live performance by musician Woody Wolfe. Shearer said his albums are played in music class and the students are big fans.

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