AURORA - Cayuga Lake has inspired generations of artists with its beauty and natural splendor. Recently, the watershed has done the same for a group of young students who see and use it day in and day out.
A local college and school district have teamed up to bring the result to the public, in hopes that the inspiration can spread beyond the school halls.
Currently, an exhibition of artwork based on Cayuga Lake is on display at Wells College's String Room Gallery. The art was created by students from Southern Cayuga School District as part of a coordinated project spanning from young, first-time painters to seasoned high school artists.
“I think this helped them look at (the lake) in a different way,” said Tim Amory, a teacher at Southern Cayuga Middle School whose
students contributed to the project.
The exhibition, “A Room With A Lake View,” is hanging in the college's String Room Gallery, which faces the lake. It features paintings, ceramics, photographs, mixed-media pieces, sketches, carvings and sculptures, all created by people who are in the 12th grade or younger.
Amory's class contributed a collection on pastel paintings, each from a student offering his or her own personal view of Cayuga. Each student contributed to the mosaic by painting from the same lakeside dock, Amory said.
Jessie Kopp and Elle Miller, both 12, each contributed to the mosaic and attended an opening reception held Monday evening at Wells College. Miller said during the reception that she was struck by the colors surrounding Cayuga Lake on the autumn afternoon they participated in the project.
“I loved that I was noticing colors that I had never seen before,” she said. “I really thought more about nature.”
For Kopp, the experience of having a piece of art she created in a real gallery is perhaps as exciting as painting the picture.
“I feel really proud about having it up there,” she said. “I worked really hard on it.”
Kopp and Miller were not the only students who visited the gallery to look at the pieces. Jeremy Marsh also attended this week's reception.
A senior at Southern Cayuga High School, Marsh has taken numerous art classes, and he hopes to attend art school next year.
Marsh contributed a number of works to the exhibit, including a fish figurine made from driftwood, a piece that combines a human mask with natural elements and a number of ceramic sculptures.
For Marsh, who lives in King Ferry, one of the challenges surrounding the projects was to work within organic themes and materials.
“I really enjoy the lake. I have grown up there,” Marsh said.
The project is part of a multi-year, educational partnership between the college and the school district. Mary Fedorka, a Southern Cayuga teacher who helped install the exhibit, said there is a possibility for more events like this in the future.
“Hopefully, this can continue,” she said.
String Room Gallery Director William Ganis agrees.
“It's hard to get students to produce good work consistently,” Ganis said. “To do this is a testament to the teachers.”
Staff writer Christopher Caskey can be reached at 253-5311 ext. 282 or firstname.lastname@example.org