Seventh-graders turn words into art Assignment: Anne Arundel County middle school seventh-graders are designing ceramic tiles based on a word they picked from a list. The finished project will be a mural for the school lobby.

March 23, 1997|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,SUN STAFF

`TC An article in Sunday's edition of The Sun in Anne Arundel about an art program at Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle School misidentified student Timmy Whitt.

The Sun regrets the error.

Timmy Whirt's word is "knowledge."

His assignment is to turn that abstract word into a clay image.

Timmy is one of 102 seventh-graders busily transforming a plain, yellow lobby at Lindale-Brooklyn Park Middle School into a ceramic tile mural full of meaning and effort.


Working with art teacher Jen Fusick, the Anne Arundel County middle-schoolers are each designing a 12-by-12-inch tile based on a word they picked from a list. Together, the tiles will form a mural in the lobby that the Linthicum school wants to show off to parents during a showcase from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. April 29.

The showcase hinges on whether a contractor can be found to mount the project properly -- and for free, enrichment teacher Richard Burger said.

He has worked on the project with Fusick, as has Maria Barbosa, a professional artist-in-residence at the school thanks to a State Arts Council Artists in Education Grant.

Timmy -- who passed up "clarify," "explain," "hypotheses," "infer," "locate" and "justify" for "knowledge" -- worked intently Friday from a cardboard sketch. The sketch of a light bulb, a time line and a computer is his guide for how his tile should look.

Barbosa said the children's assignment -- turning the abstract into something tangible -- is one that has stumped adults. But it is at the core of why experts say art is important in schools.

"Art is the spark of life," she explained. "Art not only represents feelings, but thought. Art can be used to help teach problem solving and to find meaning."

She lent a hand to Ian Gaither, stumped at how to smooth the edges of a question mark he was carving in clay to help illustrate his word: "explain."

As Barbosa carved the punctuation mark, Ian looked on and said, "Ah, cool! Yeah."

Katie Francazi was so involved working on her tile art piece that she did not realize until classmates laughed at her that she'd gotten clay in her hair from brushing it back.

The project is meant to reflect the school's goal of helping students develop skills in decision making, problem solving, invention and experimentation.

"We talked about using the power of images to support that goal," said Fusick, "so when people and visitors come into the school they will have a positive image of the school."

Pub Date: 3/23/97

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