NEWARK — Newark High School’s northeastern courtyard corner now has a garden with 33 birdhouses, made during the last few months of the 2018-19 school year by students in Amy O’Connor’s pottery and advanced pottery classes and Renee Bailey’s mixed media and drawing and painting classes.
The courthouse garden was completed in August with O’Connor and Bailey, some of their family members, NHS staff, students and alumni this summer carving out the garden space with a rototiller and shovels, adding new topsoil, installing the birdhouses, mulching the garden and adding some flowers and plants as a finishing touch.
Bailey explained each student in her classes built their birdhouses using reclaimed materials and acrylic paints and drew inspiration from the works of two-dimensional American artists from the 20th Century Realism Reinvented art movements; a two-dimensional American artist from the 20th Century Modernism art movement; and a two-dimensional American Street Artist from the 21st century.
O’Connor’s students included Gracie Ketcham, Felicity Hyde, Cameron McAllister, Alessio Muto, Damon Rogers, Deborah Szarek and Micah Utley-Powell.
Similarly, students in Bailey’s Mixed Media classes also used reclaimed materials and acrylic paint, drawing inspiration from an endangered species and a modern American 20th-21st century artist.
Mixed Media Students included Liberty Faliveno, Shenna Harris, Lynzee Havert, Ashton Keene, Emma Perrone and Alisa Shepherd.
Students in O’Connor’s Pottery classes watched documentaries on architectural styles throughout history. Then they each drew a card with an unfamiliar architectural style on it that they needed to commit to researching and exploring as a means of stretching themselves beyond the familiar.
“We spent a great deal of time looking at various websites and online museum sources to find specific dates of their selected style, locations, architectural details and materials as well as images of buildings/constructions,” O’Connor explained. “Then students were then asked to take their findings and develop sketches of a birdhouse from various view points that would capture or embed their selected architectural style. After that students used different methods of working in clay — hand building to throwing clay on the wheel — and constructed their birdhouses, finalizing them with glazes and different glaze techniques, decorative details and/or embellishments.”
Pottery students included Denisha Jones, Emma Frazer, Carson Jordan, Dillan Hernandez, Jaden Williams, Hannah Miller, Madeline Tulloch, Shaylyn Hixson, Kamryn Reyome, Olivia Daniels, Alyssa Gunkel, Kaylah Meadows, Brandon Holland and McKenna Kersten.
Similarly, O’Connor’s advanced pottery students created ceramic birdhouses, but they were able to choose their own architectural style and even choose to incorporate several styles into one if they desired to.
Advanced pottery students were Emily Spry, McKinley Miller, Emma Perrone, Jasmine VanWinkle, Ali Avery and Hannah Herman.
O’Connor and Bailey noted the project received donations of topsoil and mulch from Q’s Landscaping in Newark and the Village of Newark DPW. Plants and flowers were donated by Bailey, O’Connor and other NHS faculty and staff.