Everyone Is an Artist

At the Walden and Pines Bridge Schools at Putnam | Northern Westchester BOCES, art class is about more than producing a work of art. It is about the process.

Take the self-portraits created using empty computer boxes. Rather than discard the boxes from dozens of new computers, art teacher Jesse Steiner used the boxes as the base for students to create portraits using string and glue and paint. The end results were as varied as the students themselves.

Using a flashlight to cast a shadow, each student’s silhouette was drawn onto a box. Then the students outlined the silhouette using string that had been dipped into Elmer’s Glue. Finally, they added paint and other materials to compete the work.

“We didn’t have a vision of what the end result was going to be. No matter how it comes out, it is a representation of the student,” Steiner said.

Another work of art – two seated figures created from Styrofoam balls covered with paint – was the result of a long-term project that employed a home-made bowling game. Styrofoam balls were placed in large, empty pretzel containers. Paint was added to the containers and then they were arranged and stacked like bowling pins.

Students bowled amid 1970s music, bowling alley sound effects and an announcer who introduced each bowler. Each time the “pins” were knocked down, the paint inside the pretzel containers was splattered on the Styrofoam balls. In the end, the students created about 400 Styrofoam balls.

As for the resulting sculpture, Steiner said, “I was blown away by the student’s artistic vision and his ability to problem solve technical challenges in order to create these two seated figures. What was so gratifying was that we gave him the space to really create something and take ownership of it, and he ran with it.”

Other notable work included a collection of clay figures by Evan Wolfsdorf. Evan created the four main characters in the Wizard of Oz, superheroes including batman and superman, Peter Pan, Jack in the Beanstalk, and a series of figures representing clothing styles from the 1920s to present.

In all, about 215 students took part in the art show.