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Boardman students artists win big at the fair

October 9, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

In previous years, Educational Hall, the first building inside the main gate at the Canfield Fairgrounds, held art and other scholastic endeavors that were assigned by the Educational Service Center, who oversees the building during the fair. Members of the ESC actually placed the art with each school's booth after it had been judged over the summer months. The process had a few problems and this year things changed.

"In the past years, all of the grades from K-12 would send artwork to the fair," said Boardman art specialist Susan Farkas. "We would mat and label it for display and then send it over to the Mahoning County office. Those pieces would be hung by anyone that was working on preparing the displays in the Educational Building. None of us art teachers would have to be there to hang the art work, therefore, with so many pieces it was always very likely that something might get lost or damaged. Anyone that was volunteering and working in the fair building would also take down the display and send it back to us. Because of the damage and loss of art done by the students, many of us quit sending artwork."

For the past five years, Farkas and several other area art teachers sent no art in. That fact brought about change and the ESC turned over the booths at the fair to the school's art teachers.

Article Photos

Photo by J.T. Whitehouse, Town Crier
Posing after receiving their ribbons at a the October 23 meeting of the Boardman Board of Education were some of the artists who earned ribbons at this year’s Canfield Fair. Pictured are, in front: Brayden Asimakopoulos, and Ethan Peachock. In second row are district art teacher Susan Farkas, Taylor Watts, Gabriella Ball, Mason Russo, Rylie Hooverr and Francesca Marchionda. And in third row are Addison Volosin, Morgan Zolla, Rachel Dunlany, Vasilija Crnjak, Reagan Knapick and Jordyn LaCivita.

"Last year we received notice from the county that the Educational Building displays would change," Farkas said. "Each district used to put up a display showing different areas in the schools (Academics, Athletics, Clubs, the arts, etc.) in addition to the art displays around the building. But now each booth would represent different levels of visual art only."

She said the display would be on a wheel with all districts in Mahoning County to display different levels of the artwork. One district may have high school where another may be displaying middle school. Each year the district would change the level they are displaying.

The art teachers would be responsible for collecting all the artwork throughout the year, then getting the artwork matted and labeled and then going to set up the display a week before the fair.

"This is completely done on our own time," Farkas said. "We also were responsible for taking down the art after the fair was over. I love that we are the only ones handling the art, but it is a very big chunk of time to complete the display."

After the art teachers completed their booths in the building, judges were brought in to award ribbons.

Boardman had elementary art this year, which was K-fourth grade. Farkas said she hung over 100 pieces of art in the K-4 grades and Boardman students earned first through honorable mention in each grade level. Close to half of those students attended the Sept. 23 Board of Education meeting to receive their art and ribbons that Farkas had carefully taken down after the fair. She said there was no damaged or missing art and ribbons this year and each student got their work and awards back.

Next year, Farkas said the Boardman booth will either get middle school or high school art on the rotation wheel. While she would love to see a multiple level art display showing K-12 grades, she is not ready to leave the elementary level.

"The Boardman schools have one of the best visual art programs around," she said. "I feel that it all starts at the elementary level and is so important in the development of a child. I am very passionate about teaching elementary art and that is why I have stayed teaching at this level for many years. I would love to collaborate with all the art teachers in Boardman and do an over-reaching display that represents all the grade levels. The public will then be able to see the progression of art from a kindergarten student through a 12th-grade student."



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