Working on the railroad Young printmakers use new skill to create their own art for school

April 25, 1993|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Staff Writer

Ten fourth-grade students at Elmer A. Wolfe Elementary School are working on the railroad, but they are doing more than just passing the time away.

They're creating a legacy.

"They are making a print of a train," said Ruth Aukerman, the children's art teacher. "Union Bridge is kind of famous for its railroad, so they have designed this train which will be printed, framed and will hang over the kitchen door in the cafeteria."

This project is part of the Union Bridge school's "Artist-in-Residence" program, sponsored by the Maryland Arts Council.

Baltimore printmaker Sam Peters has taught his craft to every class in the school.

"They must have made 300 to 400 prints a day," said Mr. Peters, who has been teaching at the Maryland Institute College of Art since 1986. "This is really a good program. It gets them interested in printmaking."

Mr. Peters worked two sessions with each class during his 10-day workshop. Students used a portable press to create abstract art, making images by transferring color from strips of Mylar marked with water-soluble crayons to white paper.

The train picture is a project on a larger scale, Mr. Peters said.

The 10 students, identified by Ms. Aukerman as gifted in art, have drawn and colored everything on the mural. The picture includes several cars -- such as Daniel Holler's green-and-yellow crane car -- birds, clouds, an airplane and several telephone poles.

The students working on the picture will go to Mr. Peters' print studio in Baltimore May 1 to use his large motorized press to complete their project.

"I love it, just about everything we do," said Melissa Pavlovec, 10, as she traced the conductor she had drawn. "I like having to work with a famous artist."

Melissa said the hardest part of the work was coloring the sky blueon the long sheet of Mylar, which she said took about three class days.

Her classmate, Billy Harchenhorn, agreed.

"It was fun coloring the whole paper, but then you'd have to pay the consequences," said Billy, 10. "You would color the paper and then hold it up to the window and see a bunch of white spaces. You had to do every single crack."

Ms. Aukerman said art programs like this should be an integral part of education because they require thinking and decision-making skills that students will use throughout their education.

"It is a lot of technical things as well as intellectual learning," Ms. Aukerman said. "They learned new vocabulary. They learned the relationships between colors.

"They also learned that a lot of times in art, things don't work out the first time, so they must think of another way to accomplish the goal."

She also believes the program, paid for in part by Lehigh $H Portland Cement Co., allows the children to create images and ** memories that will last a lifetime.

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