When the Ronald McDonald House Charities put out a call to schools in Monroe County for original artwork to hang in its renovated guest rooms, Churchville-Chili art teachers stepped up.
Anne Clancy at Churchville Elementary School, Ariana D’Angelo at Chestnut Ridge Elementary, Cheryl Simon at Churchville-Chili Senior High and and Gretchen Foehner, who teaches at Churchville-Chili Middle School and Fairbanks Road Elementary, each presented an unusual assignment to their students.
The five finished paintings by Churchville-Chili students, along with work from 10 other local school districts, were formally unveiled at a grand opening celebration hosted by Kelly McCormick-Sullivan, president and CEO of RMHC. Visitors toured the new facilities and viewed the original artwork.
Each participating classroom received the same blank 5-by-4 canvas from RMHC, yet each are different.
“As an art teacher, I thought it would be a great opportunity for student artists,” Clancy said. “Our first graders at Churchville Elementary approached it like a professional commission. We focused on some of the main themes of the organization’s mission statement to design the piece and then worked collaboratively to create it.”
Her students showed how different family and community members unite to support one another. They each created their own friendly, personality-filled fox character and then brought them together on the canvas in a colorful landscape.
Foehner’s seventh grade artists shared the responsibilities of preliminary sketching and drawing, and then created hundreds of colorful squares and hearts that formed a cherry tree and sun pattern. Students finished the piece by writing an artist’s statement: “A cherry blossom represents the renewal and beauty of life, just as the sun represents life and rebirth.”
At Fairbanks Road, students in second and fourth grade brainstormed ideas and images before deciding on a large heart shape comprised of individual concentric circles, showing that everyone is surrounded by people who care for them, and all come together in community.
Over at Chestnut Ridge, Angelo’s students imagined a carefree, happy version of the city of Rochester under a sky full of pink and purple hearts and love. At the high school, Simon’s group of International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement artists created their own surrealistic universe of mythical creatures and magic.