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Student art enhances space on walls as well as love for craft

What started as a way to brighten three buildings in a suburban office park near Chicago resulted in a real-world learning opportunity for high school art students.

Jami Bartolucci, a Wells Fargo commercial real estate asset manager, noticed that the lobbies in Bannockburn Lake Office Plaza needed some sprucing up. Because Deerfield High School was within walking distance, she decided to contact the school’s art department to propose that students create artwork for the buildings. With the school administration, teachers, and students on board with the idea, Wells Fargo subsequently purchased from students 12 large-form pieces of art, which then were matted and framed for the office buildings.

Wells Fargo commissioned high school students to create art.

Several of the pieces of art painted by high school students.

Wells Fargo commissioned high school students to create art.

Several of the pieces of art painted by high school students.

But then she had an idea: Why not commission 12 more canvases to complement the 12 originals? The school agreed and the project became a class assignment. Wells Fargo provided the needed art supplies, and then framed and installed all 24 pieces of artwork.

Today, REDICO Property Management’s Monica Plischke, property manager for the buildings, says, “The artwork lights up the lobbies and makes people smile.”

The teens’ art teacher, Katherine O’Truk, says, “The students gained a lot of confidence and learned about the importance of meeting a client’s demands. Now many of them are starting to more seriously consider art as a part of their future. I am so grateful to Jami and Wells Fargo for presenting us with such a cool opportunity.”

Teacher Christopher Sykora adds, “The most important aspect of this is that students were able to collaborate with each other, and the community, within a professional framework. They took initiative and felt responsible for their work and the beauty they were bringing to it.”

Art teacher Katherine O’Truk in the high school art studio where she teaches.

Art teacher Katherine O’Truk in the high school art studio where she teaches.