Tonawanda News

May 19, 2013

Art is ...

Art: NT School District's annual art show to open.

By Jill Keppeler
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Hundreds of pieces of art representing hundreds of hours of student work will be on display starting Wednesday at the North Tonawanda Alumni Center.

The annual North Tonawanda School District Art Show, which includes ceramics, sculpture, digital media, architectural renderings, drafting, pastels, paintings and more by second- though 12th-grade students, will run through June 1. There will be an opening reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday for the young artists, their families and the community at large.

Among them will be Ohio Elementary School students William Ettinger, 12; Meghan Moynihan, 11; and Emily McNeill, 10, who showed off their artwork this week — including Ettinger’s Chinese paper cutting, Moynihan’s contour drawings of “Michelangelo hands” and McNeill’s Monet-inspired drawing of lily pads on the water -- and shared their views on art.

“Art is creativity,” Moynihan said. “You can make your own type of art. You can take something else and turn it into your own creative way.”

McNeill said that art “means expressing yourself in a different way.”

“And if you make a mistake,” she said, “you can always make it into something else.”

Ettinger said that art is “a life-changer.”

“If I didn’t have art, or Mrs. Holler, if I hadn’t known her, I wouldn’t know anything about art and creativity,” he said. “If there is no art ... there is no creativity.”

The three students are the pupils of art teacher Mary Ellen Holler, who will be retiring at the end of the school year after more than 20 years teaching in most of NT’s schools.

Holler also showed off other students’ work — perspective drawings, brightly colored paper symmetrical masks created by second-graders and 3D sculptures modeled by fifth-grade students, who also had to create a character based on their sculpture and write a story — and papers she’s collected over the years, thoughts on teaching including “The Indispensable Artist,” “The World Needs Art Teachers” and “What an Art Teacher Is.”

Art, she said, is many things. (Much like an art teacher.)

“It builds a future for kids; it gives them creativity, innovation, problem-solving skills,” she said. “These are all practices that are really vital to education and the rest of their lives.

“The kids are looking forward to showing their work and having their families attend next week.”

Ribbons will be provided to the all elementary and middle school students whose work is in the show through the Remember Ryan Foundation. Awards for 10th-, 11th- and 12th-grade students will be handed out at the show.

IF YOU GO • WHAT: North Tonawanda School District Art Show • WHEN: Wednesday through June 1. There will be an opening reception from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. • WHERE: North Tonawanda Alumni Center, 405 Meadow Drive, North Tonawanda.