PENDLETON — A student drawn mural of a Spartan soldier greets people who enter cafeteria E at Starpoint Middle School.
The mural is the creation of art teacher Kelly Tomasello’s eighth-grade students and their working partner, Buffalo artist Chuck Tingley, who visited the school to work with the kids in November.
The visit was a part of Starpoint’s Visiting Artist program. As a result of the program, over the past few years Starpoint kids have the chance to work with professional artists in various mediums. The artists share their techniques and experiences with the students.
The program itself is funded through proceeds from the district’s annual Art Auction. This year’s edition which will take place from 6 until 9 p.m. April 21 at Starpoint High School. People can enter through the Fine Arts entrance in Lot D.
The program and the auction are presented by the Dale L. Askey Memorial Fund, which is named in memory of Jim and Diane Askey’s son, who was a student with a great appreciation of the arts at Starpoint. The Askeys began the auction and visiting artists program, which was approved by the Starpoint school board, in March 2008.
Diane Askey shared with the US&J some of the benefits the program and auction have brought to Starpoint, as well as few things people should know about the event.
Question: What’s new for this year’s auction?
Answer: This year there is going to be a demonstration of glass art by Marcelo Florencio. He’s actually going to be the visiting artist for the week after the auction, he’ll be with the students for a week teaching them how to do glass art. He’ll have workstations set up in Rae Colton’s room and each class, — there’s about 200 kids involved — will get to experience creating glass art. So (the auction) is part of what he’s agreed to do. It’ll be the same, there will be art for sale or silent auction bidding. Our music this year is Russ Carere Jr. Trio. Russ Carere Sr. was a member of the Amherst Saxophone Quartet, a very respected family of musicians. Russ’s brother is a music teacher at Starpoint. There will be hors d’ouevres, door prizes and a raffle, like we’ve always had.
Q: Do people need tickets?
A: No, it is free. Come on out and see some great artwork and a great glass art demonstration. Hopefully they’ll find something to purchase and support the art program.
Q: How would you say the Visiting Artist program has gone so far?
A: I would say it’s being going very, very well. There was an article that was about how who would’ve thought out in a rural school you’d find an artist of cutting edge, new art, an up-and-comer working with the kids. This is way above and beyond what you’d expect. They’ve gotten some really unique artists and some real, young talent in the art community to come in.
Q: I imagine the students get a lot out of this, seeing a professional artist at work?
A: I think it also give them a peek into what a career in art can be like, that it is possible to pursue your goals. Look at this artist, they’re making a living doing something they love. It helps them to envision their future. They also see there’s so many different mediums, maybe there’s kids who think I can’t draw, but they get to see it’s not just drawing, not just about putting paint on paper. They did that sculpture out in the courtyard two years ago.