Student artist Holly Heldt is shown by her paint-and-photo collage on view during the opening reception for the Youth Art Month exhibit at the Portage branch of the Porter County Public Library in Portage, Ind. | Photo provided~Sun-Times Media
At a glance
◆ Youth Art Month exhibit continues during library
hours through March.
◆ Portage branch of the Porter County Public Library, 2665 Irving St.
◆ More information:
Updated: April 23, 2013 1:42PM
The Youth Services Department of the Portage branch of the Porter County Public Library was filled to overflowing with student artists and their proud families for the Youth Art Month opening reception March 4.
Paintings, drawings and other multi-media pieces adorned the walls of the department and the stairways. They represented the work of more than 200 Portage Township School Corp. elementary school students. All eight elementary schools were represented.
Parents and grandparents took photos of their young artists with their creations.
“There’s some great art here! I’m really impressed,” one mother told her daughter as they admired the displays.
The Portage Public Library has been the site of the student art show for many years, but this is the third year it included an opening reception. The Portage Kiwanis Club, Portage Township art teachers, Town & Country Food Market in Portage and Portage Tri-Kappa provided cookies and punch.
The art teachers wore corsages to be easily recognized, and each had a specific role to help the reception flow smoothly.
Bridget Nadolski, art teacher at Kyle and Myers, worked at the reception table with the help of Tri-Kappa member and Myers second-grade teacher Cindy Hargarten. They handed out “ARTIST” stickers and a coupon to redeem for cookies and punch to the students and their families.
“Be sure to look for ‘The iPad Experiment’ video,” Nadolski told the parents. “This is something new this year, thanks to a grant that Dr. (E. Ric) Frataccia (Portage Township Schools superintendent) wrote. We have 30 iPads for each art classroom now. We are rocking on the iPads in art!”
Amanda Sheffer, who teaches art at Kyle and Aylesworth, created the video. It incorporates still photos and video, showing the students creating art digitally.
“Of course, we still do so much of the actual drawing, painting, creating in ‘real life,’ ” Sheffer said, “But the iPads have taken our students’ art to a different level. They have allowed us to try some different teaching techniques. They’re fantastic teaching tools and help the kids become more rounded. It’s how children learn today.
“For example, there are art history programs on the iPad, and the kids use them to do research. They researched an artist and, rather than just doing a report, they created a movie trailer on his or her life, all using the iPads.”
“This is a great example of technology doing exactly what we asked of it,” Frataccia said. “The kindergarten through eighth-grade art teachers wanted to move forward in using technology to teach both art and other disciplines. Apple has wonderful art apps. I told them if we could get the Common School Grant, one of the things we would purchase would be a cart with 30 rechargable iPads for each art room. We applied for the grant, got it and they have been using the iPads with great success since the beginning of the year.”