SUNBURY — Students from Northumberland and Snyder counties took advantage of an opportunity to showcase their artistic talents at the ninth annual Student Art Open House on Thursday afternoon at Sunbury’s historic Maclay-Wolverton House. The landmark building’s interior setting, replete with ornate Chestnut trim work, was the perfect compliment to the youth art exhibit.

The Line Mountain School District was well represented at the event, as students from the elementary through high school levels had 35 unique pieces of artwork on display at the event, including a variety of pencil and charcoal sketches, paintings, paper mache and a number of unconventional pieces.

Unique and varied artwork

Junior Sydney Knauer stood next to her creative pencil sketch of a hand coming up out of a book with five different types of fingers on it.

“The five fingers depicted in my sketch are from a Pegasus wing, mermaid, dragon claw, dragon tail and unicorn,” explained Knauer. “I like using a lot of different types of media for my artwork. I tend to focus primarily on pencil sketches and often incorporate the use of colors in many of them.”

Line Mountain High School art and graphic design instructor Wes Wagner spoke highly of his students efforts as he walked around and viewed all of the artwork throughout the entire display.

“For our students collective ‘prehistoric art’ piece over here, we have a number of individual pieces which they were asked to create using what we would call ‘non-traditional’ media and application method,” said Wagner. “For example, you probably wouldn’t believe that each of these pieces was created using a different and unconventional media and application technique, such as painting with barbecue sauce and a skewer, mud with fingers, nail polish and a nail brush and soy sauce with a chopstick.

Wagner also pointed to a beautifully rendered self-portrait sitting on a fireplace mantle.

“You have to see this one,” he said. “It was painted by one of our seniors, Taylor Leshock, who uses a digital art tool called ‘Procreate’ on her iPad Pro. She does phenomenal work and has started putting together her own digital portfolio of her artwork, which includes her signature on each piece.”

Sophomore Kylie Figard pointed to her artwork hanging just above a stairwell landing of a cat surrounded by a number of varied, intricate designs.

“My piece is titled ‘Chubbies,’ after the name of my cat. It was sketched first with a pencil and then with an ink pen,” she said. “For about a year now I’ve been sketching with paints, charcoal, pens and pencils. I enjoy drawing but it’s only a hobby for me right now.”

The Line Mountain Middle School art instructor is CarolLynn Kahler, while Sandy Kessler works with the elementary students.

Special presentation

In another form of art, Rosella Delgado, a junior at Shikellamy High School, captured the attention and hearts of everyone present as she performed a prose reading from Sandy Hook Elementary School teacher Kaitlin Roig. As she read Roig’s account, Delgado vividly depicted all of the emotional highs and lows experienced on that fateful day, Dec. 14, 2012, from the teacher’s perspective. The moving tribute revealed how Roig tried her very best to protect all of her students by locking them inside a small bathroom together until the area had been cleared and they were finally escorted out of harm’s way.

Following her performance, Delgado received a round of applause from everyone present.

She commented, “I feel school shootings have, unfortunately, become very relevant in today’s society.”

Culver, staff comments

Rep. Lynda Schlegel Culver (R-108), whose office is also located in the Maclay building, was all smiles as she welcomed visitors to the free public display, which also included refreshments.

“This is our ninth year hosting this special Student Art Open House at the Sunbury district office to showcase the talent of our local students from private and public k-12 schools,” remarked Culver. “It is inspiring to see the creativity of their young minds shine through many different outlets, such as visual art, theatre, forensics and culinary art.”

“I invite everyone in Northumberland and Snyder counties to come out and support our local youth artists at this fun event. There will be close to 230 different works on display and the open house setting also allows the opportunity for residents to see the district office and meet myself and my staff,” she added.

Culver also expressed her gratitude toward Service First Federal Credit Union for its sponsorship of the open house.

“We are grateful to them for supporting our students and helping us showcase their hard work. It’s wonderful to see our community come together in support of our students,” said Culver.

Terri Campbell, a member of Culver’s staff who served as the event coordinator, spoke of the amount of time and effort put into the event each year by the students, faculty and the representative’s staff.

“Every year it’s so exciting for us to unpack the art from all of the schools in our legislative district, which actually takes several weeks to complete. All of the participating students receive a certificate of recognition from Rep. Culver’s office for their involvement in the program.”

Another staff member and 2012 Line Mountain graduate, Betsy Reichenbach, who serves as a district aide for Culver and is also an artist, was happy to see the tremendous effort put forth on everyone’s part to make the day an enjoyable success.

“As an artist myself, I understand and appreciate all the effort it takes to put a public event like this together,” she said.

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