Artist helps Towamensing students create mural
Kim Hogan, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts rostered artist, discusses different techniques used to complete a glass mosaic that will hang inside the main entrance to the school. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Kim Hogan, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts rostered artist, helps with a scene on a 7-by-4-foot glass mosaic at Towamensing Elementary School on Monday morning. Also pictured are students Tessa Sander, left, and Mikayla Maxwell. See a video at tnonline.com. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Ilana Mujevic, Towamensing Elementary student, places glass pieces on a wooden Bomber plane that will be part of a glass mosaic under construction at the school. Towamensing students have been working with artist-in-residence Kim Hogan to complete the project. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Kim Hogan, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts rostered artist, works with Towamensing Elementary students Jaggar Serfass, left, and Logan Anthony, on a glass mosaic that will hang prominently in the school. Hogan has spent the month of January at the school helping students in all classes learn about safety, glass cutting, tools, glass properties and various techniques. JARRAD HEDES/TIMES NEWS
Students of Towamensing Elementary are coming together to create artwork that will serve as their lasting legacy at the Palmerton area school.
Since early January, artist Kim Hogan has been working with every Towamensing class to help create a 7-by-4-foot glass mosaic mural that will eventually hang near the main entrance of the school.
The mural includes the school with the American flag and some Christmas tree farm hills in the background. There is also a deer and flowers in the foreground. The Bomber plane will be prominently displayed up in the sky on the finished product.
“It’s a great project because they are learning how to take something from an initial idea through to the finished project,” Hogan said. “The main thing is the students are collaborating. That is a difficult thing even for adults, so the fact that each of these classes is coming together on this is a great lesson in working together.”
The project kicked off with students watching a video created by Hogan, outlining the process of making the mural. Each class then brainstormed ideas of what visuals should be included, with those items that kept resurfacing brought to Hogan during planning meetings.
“Some students from each grade were chosen, and we all came together and came up with ideas,” said Towamensing student Ilana Mujevic. “We all love our school, so we definitely wanted to incorporate that. We also thought some nature scenes would really be appropriate.”
Mujevic and fellow student Kayla Cooper have been scoring pieces of mirrored glass and black glass for the Bomber plane, which is made out of teak wood from Martin Guitar. For the two students, it has been a truly special experience.
“Kayla and I love art,” Mujevic said. “It is a great privilege we have been able to do this. It’s hard doing the plane and scoring the glass. It shows how skilled Ms. Hogan is in that she can accomplish these murals and mosaics so easily. You have to put your heart into it, which is what we’re doing.”
Towamensing art teacher Rebecca Sabo said the excitement in the building was certainly palpable as Hogan’s residency drew near. Hogan has spent time teaching students about safety, glass cutting, tools, glass properties and the process. All students have been gluing and placing their pieces of glass onto the mural. Older students in grades 3-6 are cutting their own pieces.
“I think it’s really important for the students to see the arts as an occupation and another working artist showing them what you can do as far as a different art form,” Sabo said. “This is something all of the students are coming together to do, and it’s something they’ll come back to see with their children years from now, when they can say I remember working on that piece or that part of the mural.”
Funding for Hogan’s residency came through the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, according to Amanda Lovell, Arts in Education Manager for the Allentown Art Museum.
“This is really a legacy project for the school, and the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts is proud to connect teaching artists to the community,” Lovell said. “The kids are really buzzing when it is their turn to work on the mural, and it is exciting to see the energy in the room. The Parent Teacher Organization has been amazing, and the leadership at the school has been wonderful in supporting the project and making this happen.”
The mural will be prominently displayed in Towamensing’s front vestibule on a wall outside of the art room, across from the main office.
“It will be ready to view for Fine Arts night in May and we’re so excited for everyone to see it,” Sabo said.