The Berks-Mont News (http://www.berksmontnews.com)

Clay on Main Supports Oley High School Art Students and Teachers


By Roxanne Richardson, For 21st Century Media

Monday, July 15, 2013

Paintings, photography, drawings, sculpture, and other forms of art created by 30 students from the Oley School District, will be featured in a special exhibit held at Clay on Main until July 28.
“They have such a good art curriculum; Oley has some excellent teachers,” said Dolores Kirschner, director for Clay on Main. “What this does for the high school students, is to give them the opportunity to be represented in a professional setting.”
Kirschner said the students are involved in the process of setting up the exhibit and one student is selected to design a promotional card for the Hometown Show. Clay on Main underwrites all of the expenses for the exhibition including the cards. The students then invite family and friends to the grand opening of their art exhibit in a professional setting just like any other show.
Cheyenne Adams, class of 2013, had photographic prints placed in the art show. “I took a class in school in digital photography and one of the projects we had to do was a series of photos that told a story so I did Snow White and kind of changed the story,” said Adams. “I gave it a different ending.”
Adams, inspired by the dark tales of the Grimm’s brothers, decided her character would die rather than live happily ever after. Cassie Bolonski, class 2014, agreed to model and bring her friend’s vision to life or, as in the case of Adam‘s twist on an old fairy tale, death. This unique perspective earned Adams an A.
Adams plans on pursuing a career in photography and will be attending the Antonelli Institute of Art and Photography. She hopes to work for a high end magazine shooting in various locations.
A former Oley student herself, Lisa Gauker, pursued her career in fine arts and graduated from Pennsylvania College of Art and Design with a concentration in painting and printmaking. Expanding upon her education, Gauker has participated as a judge for high school shows at the Goggle Works and now working for Clay on Main, Gauker has held art classes as well as being appointed as curator for the high school show.
“When I was in high school, I would go down there and help with some ceramic classes that Dolores was teaching,” said Gauker. “She would have small shows of some of the students work from the clay studio and I did have some drawings and things up during high school, but it wasn’t anything like what we have now which is basically the gallery dedicated for that month and a half for the high school students to use.”
Gauker feels that even though she graduated nine years ago, she is still able to connect with the students and use her experiences to help them. She said the hardest part when going off to college is to keep the determination and not slack off. She added that even now, without having deadlines and when she’s tired, it’s too easy to say this is good enough, but she pushes on because she doesn’t want to say it’s good enough.
“I just want these kids to push themselves as hard as they can because it will only benefit them,” said Gauker.
Gauker is hoping to go back to school for her Masters in Fine Arts and teach on a college level.
“Clay on Main has a venue in the community and there’s a good art dept in the community so we should back up our art teachers,” said Kirschner. “This is a professional venue that’s allowing these high school students to show and to support their teachers and the program.”
With so many participating students, the biggest challenge was making sure each piece was properly displayed. Kirschner said her favorite part was when the parents came to see their kid’s work and how beautifully the pieces were displayed.
Clay on Main is situated in a nineteenth century farmhouse formerly known as the Heffley family bakery. Although the art studio’s main focus is clay, it offers a variety of programs, workshops, and classes for adults and children. A 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, the studio collaborates with other non-profit organizations to offer learning opportunities through art.
For more information, go to http://www.clayonmain.org/.