Wednesday, 16 April 2014 14:02

Dundalk High School senior Destiny Swearingen’s owl painting was featured on the program for the 5th annual Dundalk School Cluster Art Exhibit. photo by Nicole Rodman

Annual show held at new Dundalk High

by Nicole Rodman

Students, parents and school staff from across the community came together to celebrate student art during the annual Dundalk School Cluster Art Exhibit on April 9.
    The exhibit featured artwork from students at Dundalk High School and its feeder schools — Berkshire, Colgate, Dundalk and Logan elementary schools, Norwood STEM program, Dundalk Middle School and Holabird STEM Program.
    While the event is in its fifth year, this year marks the first time the art show is being held in the new Dundalk-Sollers Point Technical high school campus.
    For Dundalk High principal Tom Shouldice, the excitement of opening the new school to the community was palpable.
    “We really wanted everybody to see the new building,” he explained.
    During last Wednesday’s event, approximately 1,500 visitors streamed through the Dundalk High gymnasium, enjoying displays of visual, performing and culinary arts.
    Included among the hundreds of pieces of artwork on display were paintings, sketches, mosaics, sculptures and three-dimensional mixed-media pieces.
    Standouts included clay faces scultpted by Dundalk Elementary fourth-graders, construction paper rowhouses built by Norwood third-graders and plastic water bottle flowers created by Holabird seventh-grade students.
    Visitors also got the chance to admire artwork created by faculty and staff artists from participating schools.
    Dundalk High head custodian Roy Plummer was on hand — as he was during last year’s event — to wow visitors with a display of homemade replica props from the 1960s television series “Lost in Space.”
    Dressed in a silver spacesuit, Plummer stood next to his most impressive creation, a replica of the show’s famous robot.
    As Plummer told The Eagle last year, he created the robot himself using plywood, fiberglass, plastic and electronic parts.
    The event also featured a variety of “make and take” craft tables for students and their families.
    At the various craft stations, children could plant flowers, create buttons, decorate paper masks or paint a picture using bingo markers.
    As visitors enjoyed the artwork, culinary students from Sollers Point Technical High School wove in and out of the crowd, offering trays of finger food to hungry guests.
    Meanwhile, entertainment was provided by musical groups from schools across the area.
    Groups performing at the show included the Colgate Chamber Singers, Norwood’s Music and Movement Dancers, Holabird STEM Pop Band and the Dundalk High School Band.
    Among those enjoying the festivities was Norwood assistant principal Mari Morris.
    For Morris, the most important part of the annual exhibition is the commaraderie it creates among the student artists.
    “I think [the exhibition] is important because all of the kids, from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, are participating in the arts together,” she explained.
    For his part, Shouldice enjoys watching parents and their children interact with each other and the artwork.
    “To see them here participating is wonderful,” he explained. “It’s so much fun to watch.”
    Shoudice also appreciates the benefits that the performing and visual arts provide to students.
    “We hear so much about STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] schools and the STEM approach .... [Art] is such a creative field for students,” he explained.
     “[Art allows students] to express themselves in a totally different way than science and math,” he continued, noting, “It’s really an expansion of their education.”
    Now that the exhibition has made its debut at the new school, Shouldice is already developing new idea’s for next year’s event.
    While he did not provide specifics, Shouldice did allude to more performances and greater collaboration with Sollers Point Tech.
    For Shouldice, however, the focus of the event remains on the community.
    As he explained, “It’s a community event and we do it for the community.”