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A behind the scenes look at education from pre-K to college in Northeast Ohio

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Artfully functional project ends in festival

If you hear sounds of chaos coming from a classroom off a Kenston Intermediate hallway, don’t panic. It’s probably just students working on mosaic designs for wooden benches.

Creator and director of the chaos is Brenda Pokorny, a local mosaics artist given “free reign” over the project. She began working with the students prior to spring break, brainstorming themes and designs for the mosaics.

“I had kids who went through fifth grade (at Kenston). The teachers at Kenston are awesome,” Pokorny said, explaining her reasons for helping with the project.

The storage benches, known to students as the “lost and found benches,” typically reside in a KIS hallway when not under repair or the subject of projects such as the mosaics. Each bench’s mosaic will focus on a different PEAK character trait, such as integrity, responsibility or gratitude, and a quote that relates to the trait.

“Look what these kids are coming up with,” Pokorny said, gesturing to the mosaics in progress this week. “… Every one of these kids is doing a part.”

She enjoyed seeing the connections each student made as he or she returned from spring break and checked out some of the designs, all of which were based on and adapted from the student brainstorming sessions.

The mosaics will be unveiled during the culminating portion of the school’s upcoming Fine Arts Festival, KIS Principal Jack DiCello said.

The school decided to focus on fine arts following last year’s literacy program, DiCello said. That year, all students read the same book prior to meeting with an author/illustrator.

This year’s fine arts focus includes three parts, DiCello said. The first portion began in March with Right to Read Week, in which every class read a story related to fine arts. Classes worked on a number of small-scale projects related to those books.

The second portion is the mosaics for the “lost and found benches.”

The third is the Fine Arts Festival, to be held May 23-26. More than 60 local artists will offer sessions on a wide range of topics, from “art with recycled materials” to playing bagpipes or ballet dance, Irish dance, oil painting, photography, sculpture, fashion design or jewelry making, for example.

The project is being funded through the PTO and the Kenston Foundation, DiCello said.

- Rachel Jackson |


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