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Hammond students create art exhibit

Hammond High School Art Teacher MarshBrowne takes picture portrait Senator Paul H. Douglas Created by her student Ezekiel Rochdisplay during

Hammond High School Art Teacher Marsha Browne takes a picture of a portrait of Senator Paul H. Douglas Created by her student Ezekiel Rocha on display during the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Paul H. Douglas Center open house held at the Douglas Center in Gary on Saturday April 13, 2013. Charles Mitchell~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 27, 2013 4:35PM



A chance observation of artwork created by Hammond High School students last year was the impetus to put together the current exhibit, Nature’s Landscape, at the Paul H. Douglas Center in the Indiana Dunes National Park.

The display, created by 13 Hammond students, reflects flora and fauna, birds and various scenery found along the shores of Lake Michigan.

High school art teacher Marsha Browne coordinated the project with Douglas Center park ranger Julie Larsen.

“Julie first saw our art last year at the Miller Beach Arts Creative District downtown during the Pop-up Gallery,” Browne said. “She called to see if we would like to put together an exhibit for the Douglas Center, and of course I said yes.”

The students were excited to participate in the show, and began the research required. They studied the natural life of the national lakeshore and created unique pieces of artwork in watercolor and mixed media.

“It’s critical to have them understand the history of the dunes,” Browne said, “and also to understand the importance of preserving this area for future generations.”

Gary Emerson student Terrion Donald stopped in the center on the opening day of the exhibit to peruse the drawings and paintings set up in the hallways.

“It’s interesting to see how the students see this area,” he said, as he looked at a close-up drawing of a bird commonly found in the dunes. “These paintings are very detailed and creative.”

Senior Ezequiel Rocha wasn’t too familiar with the dunes until the class unit required observation of the area. His drawing of Paul Douglas can be found at the center’s entrance door.

“I discovered some really good views of the lake and took a trip there to see them from a closer view. The diversity of birds and plants that the dunes possess are really beautiful,” he said. “I chose Senator Paul H. Douglas because he was the founder of the (Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore), and without him it would not have taken place.”

Senior Eric Munoz was grateful for the opportunity to express his views of nature in a drawing. His contribution to the show was the drawing of a bird on a tree, with specific details, such as the texture of the tree branch.

“I knew that there were many trees and amazing views of the Dunes,” he said. “I chose my topic because I was able to describe how amazing nature could be through a small bird.”

Junior Mia Harper enjoyed the experience of mixing paints to reflect the colors of Lake Michigan, as well as showing the texture of the rocks and sand dunes.

“I chose my topic because (the scene) caught my eye,” she said. “And, I wanted others to see the lake the way that I saw it through my eyes.”

In addition to Ezequiel, Eric and Mia, other Hammond High School students with pieces in the exhibit are Jazzlyn Baines, Celeste Acevez, AAliyah LeBron, Erik Nevarez, Bryan Quinones, Sandra Pina, Cynthia Rodriguez, Anthony Flores, Kiaundra Edmond and Keirahn Richard.

The Nature’s Landscape exhibit will continue on display through the summer and is open to the public.

The Douglas Center is located at 100 N. Lake St. in the Miller section of Gary.



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