Written by Megan Weikel
An artists’ reception premiering some of the first student work to establish a permanent art collection for the Littlestown Area School District was held on Saturday, June 23 at the Adams County Arts Council Education Center, 125 S. Washington Street in Gettysburg. A recent fundraiser enabled Rolling Acres Elementary School art teacher Jill Rakowicz to have approximately 20 pieces professionally matted and framed for viewing. They include mixed media paper weavings, wax resist paintings, collage, painted clay tiles, landscapes, cityscapes and abstract work. Envisioned in 1999, and consisting of pieces selected from her classes, Rakowicz’s goal is to assemble enough work to create a loan program of exhibitions for Littlestown area businesses, its public library and the school district offices.
Also exhibited is an installation of “Poetry Trees” generated during paper and book artist, Kate Reynolds’ artist residency at Rolling Acres Elementary School. The residency was arranged through the Cultural Alliance of York County and supported by the Rolling Acres PTO and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. Activities enhanced Rolling Acre’s annual Culture Week which focused on Asia and introduced 2nd and 3rd grade art students to Japanese art forms and paper marbling. Students created their own unique marbled papers which were copied in multiples and cut into strips. Second graders wrote lines from favorite poems on the strips and hung them on the trees. Over 200 strips eventually graced three trees installed at Rolling Acres on Spring Arts Night in May. The activity was designed to encourage and stimulate reading. Participants took home the original strips which became inspirational windows into literature they had perhaps not yet read.
Many of Rakowicz’s art projects explore periods in art history. In a lesson on the Gothic, Alloway Creek middle school students re-interpreted the Gothic rose window using vinyl LPs and metallic markers and paints. The decorated platters were kiln-fired and molded into bowl shapes while still warm. Examples of this work are exhibited as well as coil pottery bowls with raffia, and Giacometti-like figurative sculptures created from wire and spray-painted masking tape. Students were charged with conveying an emotion or feeling through body language and the final results provide interactive fun for anyone interested in deciphering the gestures.
The exhibition continues through Monday, July 2. The Arts Education Center is open to the public, Monday-Thursday, 9-9 p.m., Friday and Saturday, 9-5 p.m.