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By RICK BOSTON
Staff Writer 

District Support Creates Thriving Art Program at Central

 

December 5, 2019

Rick Boston

Central High School art students Cameron Stair, Leah Decker, Emily Dunn and Brandon Righteous show their completed art projects. Central High School's art program allows students of different skill levels and interests to explore their creative side working in a variety of disciplines.

Give any small child a crayon and paper and watch as a creative spirit is instantly awakened to transform that blank sheet into something unique and imaginative. And watch as the child's face lights up with pride at what has been created.

Central High School art teacher Heather Trimeloni knows that feeling well.

Trimeloni tapped into her creative side from the minute she could hold a crayon and turned her passion into a career that helps others explore the artist in them.

"I was passionate about art from a very young age," she said. "I took private art lessons all through elementary school."

Trimeloni, who is in her 15th year of teaching art at Central, said that as she progressed through school, her love of art continued to grow and by the time she was in high school, she knew where her career path was leading.

"I had a high school art teacher who was just superior. I admired her," she said. "She supported me in everything and I just knew it was something I needed to do."

Trimeloni teaches four levels of art that cover everything from painting to graphic arts, and there is a class for all skill levels.

Students who may not have a lot of artistic ability can explore their creative side through a general art class while students who are interested in further pursuing and enhancing their skills can take higher level classes.

"We do everything from watercolor acrylics, chalk pastel, charcoal, pen and ink. The full gamut," Trimeloni said. "As the level increases, it gets bigger."

While budget cuts have reduced art programs at many schools across the state, Central High School Principal Stephanie Thompson said the Spring Cove School District is committed to its art program.

"We have been fortunate that the district has continued to support the arts program throughout the years," Thompson said. "It is due in large part to our teachers. We have three art teachers in the district who are excellent at working with the students and moving their talents forward."

Problem-solving

Trimeloni said art class plays as important role in a student's education as the core subjects of English, math and science.

"It's problem-solving," she said. "What they are working on now, they are learning the process of making a product, marketing that product and selling it. We are working on everyday things and they are learning the critical problem-solving skills they are going to need."

While most people see the artist as a solitary person working alone to create, Thompson said there are many projects that teach the students how to work in a team environment.

"It involves collaboration and teamwork," Thompson said. "It's not just an individual thing. Some projects are individual-based, but a lot requires teamwork and learning to work together."

An example of working as a team was when a group of students participated in PennDOT's "Paint the Plow" contest. Students worked together to create the design and then took turns painting that design onto the plow.

Why art?

Students sign up for art class for different reasons. Some want to explore their creative side and improve their skills while others want to take the skills they learn here with them to the next level of their education.

Senior Madison Eicher said she got interested in art from her cousin, and when the opportunity came to take classes, she jumped at it.

"My cousin did art when she was in school and it always interested me," she said. "I'm not exactly the best at it but I try my hardest and do my best."

Madison said her favorite kind of art is working with chalk pastel and although a career in the arts may not be in her future, she intends to continue creating and having fun with it.

"I am always going to do art for fun," she said.

Senior Ben Garber said he found himself practicing his creative skills in classes when he shouldn't have been, and was thrilled when he hit high school so he could take art classes and advance to higher levels.

"I have always been into drawing," he said. "Around middle school I would be drawing in almost every class, so when I heard about art classes in high school, I wanted to take one. Every year I got more and more interested and that led me to Art 4.

Garber said he plans to go to the Pittsburgh Technical College for graphic design, using the skills he is learning in art class to help him to the next level.

Senior Trent Smith said he was always "kind of" into art, but it was the opportunities he had at Central that fueled him to want to go beyond what he could do on his own.

"I used to like to sketch, but I really got into it when I took Creative Art 1 in ninth grade," he said. "It ended up getting more interesting and I was getting better and better at it and really liking it."

Student art work is not only displayed in the school, but every March an exhibit is set up at Homewood in Martinsburg for the public to enjoy.

The success of Central's art program has led to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C,, where a chalk pastel created by Cove student Reagan Bush won the 2019 Congressional Art Competition.

Bush's piece, "Field of Honor," a chalk pastel depicting the Tower of Voices at the Flight 93 Memorial, is on display in a special exhibit at the U.S. Capitol.

Trimeloni said it is moments like that, when students get recognized for their work, that make her most proud.

"It's a proud moment," she said. "That's what I work towards, for these students to get the recognition for the work they do. And when they get that recognition, I know I've done what I needed to do for them."

 

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