Green High School students learn about the Ohio River

Final project created by Green High School students installed at the SOMC Urgent Care in Portsmouth.

Peripheral group of students from Green High School standing with their finished artwork.

Artwork created during a three-week Ohio Arts Council Artist-in- Residency Program was displayed in the Green High School Library for a community reception on Oct. 5, before it was presented to SOMC’s new Urgent Care Center in Portsmouth for permanent installation.

The reception at Green High School was the culminating event of the residency program coordinated through the Gifted Services Department of the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center.

Ohio Arts Council Artist-in-Residence Susan Byrnes met with core group students in Ann Everman’s Advanced Art Class, and one peripheral group in Everman’s Art I classes on a daily basis. The Core Group students worked together to create a Plexiglas sculpture designed specifically for the Urgent Care Center. The Plexiglas panels represent a cross-section of aquatic life in the Ohio River as studied and created by the students at Green High School.

The Peripheral Group students created a 10-foot collaborative painting of fish in the Ohio River. Students studied the different types of fish found in the Ohio River and learned basic color theory as they worked together to create one unified painting. For several of the students, it was their first real experience with painting.

“It was a wonderful experience for Green High School because they’re not used to having a well-known artist come in and be able to work with students one-on-one, and with the class as a whole. It was just phenomenal,” Everman said. “For them to be thrown into this the third week of school, and for them to tackle this the way they did, I was very impressed.”

Abby Floyd and Justin Clark of SOMC gave the students a tour of the new Urgent Care Center at the start of the residency and students learned a little about architecture and interior design in public buildings. The students also learned about plant and animal life in and around the Ohio River through a workshop with Kate Sowards of the Scioto County Soil and Water Conservation District.

“This is our third year that I’ve worked with the Artist-in-Residency program and it’s always a privilege,” said SOMC Administrative Director Wendi Waugh. “Every year I am amazed at the quality of the projects that these programs bring to our neighborhood. I really enjoy that we are inspiring art in our local schools and that becomes a part of our community, and the project this year just tied in perfectly with the opening of the new Family Center. I couldn’t be prouder of the final result.”

The project was funded by the Ohio Arts Council, the Scioto Foundation, Southern Ohio Medical Center and Portsmouth Rotary Club. During this residency, Byrnes worked with students at Green High School, art students at Shawnee State University, and high school art teachers during a professional development meeting at the ESC.

“I’m very proud of the fact that we’ve been able to continuously receive grants from the Ohio Arts Council to provide our Artist-in- Residency Programs. The experience the students gain from working with a professional artist expands not only their artistic knowledge, but their understanding of real world issues as well. Our focus is not to produce professional artists (although we love it when that happens), but for each student to experience the process of making art and working alongside a professional artist,” said ESC Gifted Services Coordinator Sharee Price.

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