Student artwork on display at library

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Stafford - posted Thu., Mar. 31, 2011
Dee Paradis, art coordinator, explains how tessellations are created. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Dee Paradis, art coordinator, explains how tessellations are created. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

Visitors to the Stafford Library now have the chance to enjoy a collection of artwork produced by the Visual Arts Department of the Stafford school system. The all-district art show is on display for the entire month of April.

Works in nearly all media, by pre-kindergarten through 12th-grade students, are in display cases, hanging on walls, and free-standing. They are tucked into every corner of the library, and searching them out is a worthwhile endeavor.

Art teacher Dee Paradis, art department co-coordinator and elementary art teacher, organized the show, and art teachers Liz Vannelli (middle school), Amanda Fischetti (high school) and Tannis Longmore (elementary school) motivated their students to produce art worthy of exhibition.

“When we first assign a project, we often hear students tell us it’s too hard and they can’t do it, or they are not good at that. When they finish their project, we often hear them say that they can’t believe they did it,” Paradis said.

Visitors may learn about some techniques they have never heard of and learn a bit about historical influences on art, as well. “I love working history into art. Now [classes are learning about] the Silk Roadand using beads to barter. The kids are trading their beads this week to acquire the ones they want to make their necklaces next week,” Paradis said.

Third-graders worked on cartouches, which were pendants worn by Egyptian royalty, while fifth-grade students used a method known as sgraffito – borrowed from ancient Greece– to decorate their pottery. Second-graders used lace, buttons, beads and sticks to make their action collages and tessellations, which are renditions beginning with one square piece of cardboard of a certain shape which then interlock and repeat.

Middle school students worked on making batiks, scratch boards and watercolors. “We made a lot of the watercolors ourselves. We brought in coffee, teas, tomatoes and cooked grass and leaves to get greens like people once created watercolors,” Paradis said. “And we made our paint brushes out of yucca, a desert succulent.”

High school students created pencil portraits, as well as works in oils and watercolor.

The art teachers are dedicated to finding a path to success for all their students. “Some students may not be proficient in one medium, but find they excel in another. We try to open the door through whatever interest a child has,” Paradis said, as she pointed out some Middle East-inspired designs made with a compass.

Paradis expressed her gratitude to the town and administration for their support of the arts. “With art, you can feel or do or be anything you want,” she said.


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