Darby art students are hard at work on pieces for the National Audubon Society

As the new school year is beginning, Darby art students are jumping into full swing, working on some exciting new projects. A few students, selected by Darby art teacher, Valerie Kulick-Brown, have been given the unique opportunity to create pieces for the Grange Insurance Audubon Center art exhibit.

   The Audubon Center is an organization that is concerned with the conservation and restoration of natural ecosystems, specifically those involving birds. The art exhibit will feature five pieces from Darby students, all of which fit the prompt “Native Ohio: Plants for Birds”.

  The Audubon Center reached out to Kulick-Brown at the start of the school year, offering up five spots in their art exhibit for students to collaborate on or create their own pieces. Kulick-Brown was eager to accept their invitation, and offered up the spots to some of her top art students. The requirements for the submissions are a bit out of the ordinary, so Kulick-Brown wanted to make sure that the students participating were up to the challenge. Each submission must reflect native Ohio birds and wildlife pertaining to those birds. Each submission must also be completed on a sheet of canvas, or other fabric material that is two feet by two feet in size. Students are not allowed to use paper, which presents itself as a challenge, but has also lead to some very creative final projects.

  One student, Senior, Abigail James, has embraced the challenge of not using paper by creating her piece entirely out of cut fabric. James plans to create a mosaic image of a duck in a pond, surrounded by native plants to the region.

  “I wanted to choose a subject that would be more unique, so I chose waterfowl,” James stated, “then I found the native Ohio plants that are important to the lake and pond.”

  James is using felt to create her mosaic image. Although the process of cutting every shape of felt in each specific color is daunting, James is up to the challenge and enjoys working with the medium. Her only complaint is that working with fabric glue can get very messy at times.

  Other students in the class, such as Rachael Shearer, are taking other approaches to the task that do not use traditional paper and pencil. Shearer is fully embracing the idea of native plants, by creating her image entirely out of birdseed. Her piece features native birds such as the cardinal and incorporates several different seeds of plants indigenous to Ohio. Another student, Senior, Mia Miller is taking a unique approach by creating large parts of her piece by gluing down colored sand to the canvas. The background of the price features a bright blue, watercolor fade, which contrasts in texture with the sand to create a stunning visual.

  Darby students are fully able to showcase their creativity through these very unique pieces, while becoming more educated on conservation and wildlife in Ohio. Each piece is still in the works, but soon, the submissions will be mailed in and by this winter will be on display at the Audubon Center art exhibit for bird lovers and art lovers alike to enjoy.

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