We were delighted with Mark Harrison's coverage of our Artist in The Schools program here at Nikiski North Star Elementary School. The project is funded by the Alaska Council on the Arts, which receives support from the National Council on the Arts and from the Alaska Legislature. The three-week project was a wonderful experience for the kids, the parents, teachers and volunteers. The entire undertaking could not have taken place without the outpouring of support from the community, however.
Our hand print and mural projects were not only an attempt to add children's art in permanent installations, but also an effort to bring the students from the two former elementary schools together, working together and sharing ideas and talents. The community joined in full force. Ron Mika of Nikiski Building Supply contributed the special plywood for the backing for the mural. Al Anderson, of Al the Handyman, created a base for the tiles and frame for the finished work. He donated many hours of time to the project and is so appreciated. Ralph Gaines, Nikiski Scientific, donated slide film and developed the slides for us at a gift discount. Our "angels" in the project were Tammy Whittaker and Crystal Baun of The Ceramics Shop in the Nikiski Mall. They hand poured our tiles, supplied glazes and advice and hands-on help. They worked many, many hours, and when a minor crisis occurred, Ann Wilson, Soldotna High art teacher, handmade tiles to supplement our supply. We highly recommend checking out decorating your own tiles for your home or gift.
The parent volunteers were simply awesome. Nora Ribbons and Gretchen Graeff spent time working to finish the mural before our deadline. In addition, the Boys and Girls Club spent two afternoons staining to complete the project. Parents also participated in the after-school workshops, for which the artist is especially grateful. Both of us have been so pleased with the community involvement and wanted to be sure to let each and every person know that they are appreciated. Thanks to the Clarion for telling the rest of the peninsula about our project.
Lori Manion, principal, Dottie Sanders, artist in the schools, Nikiski North Star Elementary
Lori A. Manion
"Excited about Excellence!"
Nikiski North Star Elementary
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