Student Artwork Right at Home Downtown
Bart Sullivan, 05-17-2019

Made from water bottles, paper-mache, fabric and cardboard, Lincoln students' beehive as displayed in the Falls River Square Pavilion.
Bart Sullivan
The artistic side of Cuyahoga Falls expanded Thursday night, May 2nd, as artwork, music, and theatrical productions were presented by students of the Cuyahoga Falls and Woodridge school districts at the Fifth Annual Cuyahoga Falls All-City Art Walk. Encompassing 10 buildings around the downtown area, Cuyahoga Falls City Schools worked in partnership with the city and local businesses to present student work to the city.

Available in and around the Falls River Square Pavilion, the Cuyahoga Falls High School choirs and Tri-M Musicians & Friends provided entertainment to guests as they perused and enjoyed refreshments made by the CFHS Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) culinary program using groceries provided by Western Reserve Hospital. Along with panels and tables of sculptures and paintings from every school represented, guests could create their own art projects, including pipe cleaner inchworms and lessons on creating hair wraps from the CFHS Cosmetology program. As well, in the spirit of the show’s theme, “Spring into Art,” school PTAs raffled gift baskets alongside students’ plants, benefitting the art walk fund and the CFHS ID/MD program.

At the Cuyahoga Valley Art Center (CVAC), the public had the opportunity to paint their own ceramic bird, which was quite a popular event—many birds were already in progress by the middle of the event. Guests were also provided step-by-step viewing of student-designed gnome shirts being silkscreened, sold that night for $5. The gnome design arose from the art walk’s scavenger hunt for student-made lawn gnomes hidden around downtown in local businesses. Those who found the appropriate number of gnomes could return their entries to the CVAC for a prize.

Keeping with the fun of making art, Harps & Thistles Yarn Emporium turned their basement into a nightclub featuring black lights illuminating neon-painted sculptures. Volunteers also helped children make their own slime from glue, a craft which proved to be a hit with younger guests who lined up at the bottom of the stairs to get their hands messy.

Meanwhile, soon-to-open Jean & Lou women’s clothing store hosted work from Roberts Middle School students, as well as an intricate fireplace display from the High School Welding classes, featuring a campfire complete with melting forks and marshmallows. The Chamber of Commerce presented sculptures even more impressive, constructed each by Cuyahoga Falls High School and Woodridge High School students. CFHS students took a broken fountain as a base, and upcycled it using a plethora of materials to turn it into a representation of the fountain previously at the North end of Front Street. Dubbed “The Falls of Change,” it was decorated with coins provided by students from all grades. Woodridge’s sculpture, “The Cost of Education,” featured a typical wooden desk covered in doodles and equations, with a terracotta bust of a child and a schoolbook. All of this, similar to the fountain, was covered in copper pennies, representing the impact money has on each student, curriculum, resources, and access to education.

Overall, this presentation of work from students in the community is a look toward the future of art in Cuyahoga Falls. These artists are future professional painters, illustrators, musicians, singers, and filmmakers. By supporting them now and seeing the work they produce as they mature, the city can plan for the future and improve programs for the public to enhance other art-centric areas. Until then, we await next year’s art walk and the exciting things to come from our schools.

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