THS foyer to feature hanging art
Student artists design new sculpture from old high school materials
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 00:02
A group of 20 Talawanda High School (THS) students are working to create a sculpture that will hang from the ceiling in the front rotunda of the high school, 5301 University Park Blvd.
Alysia Fischer, artist and Miami University professor teamed up with THS art teachers, Jim McWilliams and Sean Oswald, to facilitate the project.
The completed sculpture will be unveiled Feb. 28 during a dedication ceremony at the school. The ceremony will also feature the dedication of the new performing arts center and a performance by the concert band, chamber band and orchestra.
This is not the first time McWilliams has planned a project for his students.
“I try to organize some type of educational and interactive project or event for the students to participate in every year,” McWilliams said. “In the past I’ve done a kinetic sculpture race and a red bull race. The new school has new spaces dedicated for artwork, so this provided the opportunity to create the sculpture.”
McWilliams said he wants the students to be the ones driving the project.
“It’s not just the teacher’s ideas,” Hanna Edmondf, a THS student and aspiring teacher, said. “We really do have a say in every aspect of the design.”
The final sculpture design was the culmination of a lot of brainstorming and collaboration.
“The first day we all wrote our ideas on post-it notes and slapped them all on one board,” student Heather Ker said. “A lot of us came up with similar ideas.”
According to McWilliams, the concept behind the sculpture is transformation, growth and change. This concept was inspired by the change from the old school to the new one.
Talawanda High School transitioned to the new building when the 2012-2013 school year began last August.
“The sculpture will be constructed using mostly recycled material that have been recovered from the old high school – things like wires, bike rims and transparencies,” McWilliams said. “The sculpture will hopefully be the first of many pieces of student-built artwork put on display. This first sculpture will most likely stay up for at least year until it’s replaced by something else.”
Fischer, an artist who holds a degree in metals and specializes in repurposed art, is working alongside the group to guide them through the process of developing a concept and creating models.
Before the project began, the group saw Fischer’s work at an exhibit in Hamilton. Fischer also gave a presentation outlining the philosophy behind sustainable artwork.
According to Fischer, the students have responded very well to this genre of art, despite apprehensions about the quality of the materials.
“I really like working with Alysia,” said Edmondf. “I like that she takes something ordinary like trash or rubber and turns it into beautiful art.”
According to McWilliams, they will soon divide up tasks and begin building the sculpture so that it is ready in time for the ceremony.
“I think the final sculpture will say who we are as a school,” Grace Heddleston, another student working on the project, said.