Pennsylvania State Representative Jeff Pyle visited South Buffalo Elementary School in the Freeport School District on Thursday, November 10, 2011, to see bronze sculptor and state-rostered teaching artist Dave Poulin of Jamestown, N.Y., working with students as they experience the process of creating a life-size bronze statue. The residency is managed and partially funded by IUP's ArtsPath program.
The three-week residency began on Monday, October 31, and will continue through November 18. Rep. Pyle, a strong supporter of the arts in Pennsylvania and of ArtsPath, was instrumental in working with the host coordinator, art teacher Deanna Henry, in helping to find funding for the residency.
Said Ms. Henry, “When I met with Rep. Pyle, he was so helpful in providing a variety of names and businesses he felt would want to contribute to this type of project. As you can imagine, a life-size bronze sculpture is not inexpensive, so his suggestions were instrumental in pointing me the right direction so we could bring this creative experience to the students.”
Several local businesses and individuals have all made donations, including Rosebud Mining Company as well as Snyder Brothers, Inc., Birdsfoot Golf Course, Renshaw Family Farms, Cabin Greens Golf Course, and Judge Gary DeComo. South Buffalo’s Parent Teacher Organization also made a significant contribution.
ArtsPath, the arts-in-education division of the Lively Arts at IUP, partners with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to support arts education outreach in Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, and Jefferson counties. In addition to artist residencies, ArtsPath provides a variety of workshops and opportunities for students and teachers to interact with touring performing artists, reaching upwards of 5,000 students annually.
The first week of the residency was spent with all of the students in the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades as they went through a variety of exercises and lessons, all designed by Mr. Poulin, to differentiate between right- and left-brain thinking, work on problem solving skills, visualization, and creative writing.
By the end of the first week, each student had created their own “perfect day” adventure story, during which they discover a sculpture. All the stories were then submitted to Poulin, Henry, and the third through sixth grade teachers, with one being chosen as the sculpture for the school. At a school assembly on November 3, Poulin announced that sixth grader Drew Kolek was the winner with her adventure story of flying around the world while holding a large bunch of balloons. The actual sculpture will be of Kolek holding the balloons.
Said Poulin, “It’s such a great experience to see the kids work through a creative process, and when they’re told there isn’t a ‘right or wrong,’ see the great ideas they come up with, all by using their imagination.”
As the residency enters its third week, the students are well on their way to completing the clay sculpture. During this time, the students will learn about all the various aspects of sculpting that go into creating a sculpture that must tell a story without making a sound. Poulin will take the finished clay sculpture back to his studio and foundry at the end of the residency for the bronzing process, and return with it for a dedication ceremony in the spring of 2012.
The school will also be hosting a Meet and Greet with the artist from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, for students, parents, and community members who are interested in spending time with Poulin.