Photo by Nathan Mandell
Photo Caption -
STUDENTS AT Vaughn Occupational High School display art works that they created in a recent class at the school. The works will be sold at a silent auction scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at Charybdis Multi-Arts Complex, 4423 N. Milwaukee Ave. Proceeds from the sale will benefit the school’s fine arts program.

Nadig Press-Wednesday May 23, 2001
Front Page

Benefit auction scheduled of works by Vaughn HS artists

By Brian Nadig
Staff Writer

High school artist Edward Jarvis is eager to describe his latest painting. He points to the boat’s lookout telescope and carefully explains how he created the colorful picture.

”First I used an easel and penciled (my image) lightly,” Jarvis, a junior at Vaughn Occupational High School, 4355 N. Linder Ave., said. “It was a little (difficult) at first to get it into my mind, and then I just visualized it.”

Jarvis says he is honored by the fact that his creation and others by his classmates will soon be sold through a silent auction benefiting his school’s fine arts program. The art exhibition, titled Perception: Exceptional Art, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at the Charybdis Multi-arts Complex, 4423 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Vaughn is a special needs facility whose students, age 14 to 21, are considered educable mentally handicapped. Their reading and writing skills usually range from the first to fourth grade levels.

Art teacher Dara Gannon described the school’s first-ever art auction as more than just a fundraiser. The auction also will serve as a ceremony where students will be recognized for their efforts in the classroom, she said.

BESIDES THE WORKS of the school’s 65 student artists being showcased, the school’s chorus, conducted by music teacher Alan Demski, will perform. Gannon said that other students also participated in the event by helping with the mailing of the invitations.

As many as 50 items, including watercolor and acrylic-based paintings and packages of gift cards which were designed by students, will be auctioned, Gannon said. The opening bid for most items will be about $10, she said.

Gannon’s students have learned about a variety of artists and their methods. During a recent class, students were studying artist Georgia O’Keefe as they worked on their oil pastel drawings.

”You’re working on blending (colors),” Gannon tells the class. As she tours the class and tries to meet with each student individually, Gannon comments how some students were able to grasp the concept of blending colors, while others keep their colors separated.

”It’s a very fun challenge,” Gannon said when asked about the difficulties in teaching EMH students.

The academic skills of her students vary widely. For example, Gannon said, not all of her students can write in cursive.

The emotional skills also vary. During their work on oil pastels, some students were easily bothered by the fact that their hands would get dirty and would often ask if they could wash them, Gannon said.

Earlier in the year, students learned about symmetrical and asymmetrical art using a paper and-scissors technique made famous by Polish artist Wycinanki. They also studied Picasso and the abstract art form known as cubism.

Vaughn’s art program is being funded in part by a $5,000 “Expand The Arts” high school grant, awarded by the school system’s Office of Language, Cultural and Early Child Education Department.

Several of Gannon’s students said that they are proud of their art and that preparing for the auction has led to friendships.

Junior John Bora smiles as he points to a building in his Chicago skyline painting and describes how his mother works there. He says it took him about a week to complete his painting.

Bora is hopeful that someone will bid on his painting at the auction. He and some of classmates said that the recognition, which their artwork has brought them, is something that they have never experienced before.

Photo by Nathan Mandell

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