Art honors those who served and sacrificed

Exhibit shows students' portraits of soldiers

November 07, 2007|By Jennifer Choi | Jennifer Choi,Sun reporter

The portrait is of Lance Cpl. Patrick Ryan Adle, a Marine who was killed in Iraq, and it contains painstaking shading and hints of color.

And it was done by a sixth-grader.

The fallen Marine's father, Michael Adle, said it pleased him to know that people would go out of their way to honor those who died for their country.

"These guys volunteered and believed in the cause that they were fighting for," he said at a reception last week at the Perry Hall library, where he gave artist Emily Middleton a bouquet of flowers. "And they believed it until the end."

The portrait of Adle was done as part of a project at Perry Hall Christian School. In all, 49 portraits of soldiers, done by sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders, are hanging in the Perry Hall library. The exhibit will be on display this month.

Teddy Richardson, Perry Hall Christian School's elementary and middle school art teacher, said she wanted her students to research their subjects to feel more connected to them and to learn more about the war and its impact on the community.

"Art should not be just for ourselves," Richardson said. "It should be appreciated by others so that it's not just about our own little world."

Joelle Cusic, 12, said of the project: "It was kind of sad because they died so young, and in other ways it was a way to relate to others who had gone through hard times."

Emily, the 10-year-old who drew the portrait of Adle, said, "It was really meaningful, not only to just be able to appreciate the artwork but also appreciate the people who died in the Iraq war."

The Adle and Middleton families are acquainted. And at least one other student chose to research and draw a soldier with whom he had a personal connection.

Seventh-grader Daniel Gabriel drew a portrait of his grandfather, Albert David Morris, who served in the Navy in World War II and Korea. He died in 1978.

"I felt kind of sad. Sad that I never got to know him," said Daniel. "But this was a little educational. I learned a lot about him and the Navy and all that."

To guide their work, students found photographs or images of their subjects on the Internet, in magazines or in newspapers. Richardson specified that the images be in black and white so the students could see different degrees of shading.

After the students made pencil drawings of the faces, they used markers to create shading. As a final touch, chalk pastels were used to subtly smudge in sections of color.

Students also used their research in creating borders for their portraits.

After finding out that Adle had posthumously received a Purple Heart, Emily included purple hearts in her border. The hearts are broken to symbolize his death. Adle, a 21-year-old former Fallston High School football and lacrosse star, died in June 2004 when his Humvee struck a roadside bomb in Baghdad.

Daniel included a cutout picture of a warship on the border of his portrait because his grandfather had served on one during World War II. He also wrote the word "Poppy" under the portrait.

Cheryl Youngbar's 12-year-old daughter, Brittany, drew a portrait of Staff Sgt. Marlon B. Harper, a 34-year-old soldier from Baltimore who was killed by enemy fire while on patrol in Baghdad this year.

"It's a nice way to show gratitude to fallen heroes," Cheryl Youngbar said. "They're usually the ones that are forgotten."

jenny.choi@baltsun.com

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