Art boosts community spirit
Posted on: Nov 16, 2017
The artistic talents of Delano Middle School seventh-graders will be visible around the streets of Delano next year, as a unique partnership continues with the city.
Out of 69 students in Laura Holland’s first-trimester art class, designs from 18 students were chosen by a group of anonymous staff members for conversion to light pole banners. All of Holland’s students then worked in teams of four to finish painting the banners before the end of October.
“The banners are a lot of fun and the kids enjoy making them for sure,” said Holland, who is in her fourth year at Delano. “The kids look forward to this.”
The partnership with the city to display student-designed and painted banners began years ago. Banners are hung around downtown, on the highway bridge and in other locations for one to three years, with older student banners coming down at the end of each school year to make room for the new designs.
This year students were encouraged to create their banners with the themes of kindness or safety, but were not limited to those subjects. All 69 students created a design that uses specific techniques, and finalists were chosen for the painted banners based on quality and variety.
“It’s going to be fun being around town, seeing my banner and saying, ‘Hey, I made that. That one is mine,’” said Nadia Slavek, one of the design winners whose banner featured the fireside offering of a hot drink amidst snow-capped pines.
Another winner, Samantha Krampf, said staff members had plenty of good options to choose from.
“I was not expecting mine to get chosen because I saw a lot of other projects and I thought they were really good,” she said. Her design (shown on Page 1) featured a pair of ice skaters, one giving the other a hand up after a spill.
Working as a team
After the 18 final designs were chosen, students were split into four-person teams for the painting process. Ruby Taylor, another winner, said that input from other students improved the final product.
“The others changed it and made it look better,” she said.
“There were a lot more ideas from working with a group. I actually liked how it turned out more than if I had just painted it myself,” she said.
Teamwork and cooperation were keys to the project.
“You want to go with your plan, but the group has other ideas and you need to be able to work with those too,” said Krampf.
The banners are made of a plastic-type canvas, and student used four coats of acrylic paint to bring their designs to life. Getting the details right was difficult, and the process took patience.
“If you made a mistake on one day you couldn’t just fix it right away. You had to wait for the paint to dry,” said Slavek.
Holland worked with the students on their technique, making sure no brushstrokes were visible unless that was an intentional technique, and at the end of the year she will lacquer coat the paintings to make them weatherproof for as long as they are publicly displayed.
“This is a good project,” said Holland. “It gives them a sense of pride and ownership and responsibility in here to do their best work.”
Aside from Slavek, Krampf and Taylor-Keller, the other students whose designs were chosen included Abby Menk, Trevor Narlock, Adelle Persian, Parker Sjomeling, Brielle Wuolett, Jonathan Kivisto, Meghan Erwin, Ava Peterson, Lauren Scanlon, Danielle Green, Josh Groff, Brynlee Watkins, Lily Balsiger, Peyton Snetsinger and Jade Wissbroecker.