The Urban/Suburban Connection is an on-going innovative, community-building educational program that fosters multi-cultural understanding through the arts.  It connects students from urban and suburban schools while enriching a standards-based curriculum.  The gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley is featuring selected prints and collages by students from Trexler Middle School and Southern Lehigh Middle School until April 30, 2011, and has been deemed “Making My Mark”.

Fifteen students from each school worked with poet Michael Barnett and visual artist Claire Marcus to address the theme Making My Mark.  Faculty participants at Southern Lehigh included art specialist Lynn Yocum and language art specialists Krista Sterner and Holly Walker.  Consumer science teacher Linda Anderson and science teacher Karen Shaffer taught with the artists at Trexler.  Subject matter focused on young people’s unique strengths and contributions to the world around them.  Mr. Barnett and Ms. Marcus encouraged students to examine and employ the common elements of gesture and texture in their writing and visual art.

Poetry, narrative writing, and journal entries became the subject matter for collages, found object assemblages, and collagraph prints, some of which were hand-colored and embellished with original texts.  Students compared experiences throughout the program by handwritten and illustrated journal exchange.

The Penn State Lehigh Valley Gallery is open to the public Monday’s, Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s, Friday’s, and Saturday’s from 10:00 am-4:00 pm, and Thursday’s from 10:00 am-8:00pm.

On April 14, the Lehigh Valley Arts Council’s Growing Up Artfully workshop will include a tour of the exhibit at 3:00 pm, and will include light refreshments.  For more information, please contact Ann Lalik, Gallery Director [email protected] or call her at 610-285-5261.  The Urban/Suburban program is supported through the generosity of Capital BlueCross, Holt Family Foundation, Just Born, Inc., Lehigh Valley Health Network, PPL Energy Supply, LLC, and Sovereign Bank.

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council is consistently finding ways to enrich the lives of students while bringing together forms of art and education.  The gallery at Penn State Lehigh Valley is alive with works of art from students in an attempt to combine the differences between urban and suburban living.  Visit the gallery to see these amazing works of art and learn what the students of Trexler Middle School and Southern Lehigh Middle School are trying to teach you!

What programs do you feel should be recognized at your children’s schools in the Lehigh Valley?

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