A multimedia collage that Cape Elizabeth Middle School student Mairead Lee said she made for her mother’s birthday is on display at the Capitol building in Augusta, in the Department of Education Office, along with 41 other students’ pieces, said art teacher Marguerite Lawler-Rohner. Courtesy of Marguerite Lawler-Rohner

CAPE ELIZABETH — Artwork from 42 Cape Elizabeth Middle School students is up on display at the Department of Education headquarters in Augusta until the end of February.

The students were invited to celebrate their creativity and show off their talent on Dec. 10 at the Capitol, during the Artist Recognition Ceremony, said art teacher Marguerite Lawler-Rohner. A letter of recognition from Gov. Janet Mills was read to the artists, who also received certificates.

Each grade studied a different art technique, Lawler-Rohnew said. Fifth graders were inspired by Japanese storyboards, creating a story that they couldn’t see or hear; sixth graders worked on self-portraits; seventh graders picked artists they liked, using pen and ink to re-imagine their favorites; and eighth graders incorporated seven different designs into one ceiling tile.

Superintendent Donna Wolfrom, Principal Troy Eastman and Officer David Galvin attended the ceremony, said Lawler-Rohner. She added that she was happy to see the school department support the arts and the talented students she teaches.

“The Artist Recognition Ceremony was organized by Jason Anderson, Visual and Performing Arts Specialist for the Maine Department of Education, to honor our student artists whose work is currently on display in the offices of the Maine Department of Education in Augusta,” said Wolfrom.

“I was so proud of our students as they shook hands with Senator Millett and Mr. Hess,” she continued. “They seemed thrilled to see their artwork framed and on display in the DOE offices. The guides made sure that every student found their artwork that was distributed throughout the office. Special thanks go out to Ms. Lawler-Rohner for submitting our students’ work for display.”

Cape Elizabeth seventh-grader Hartson Mosunic said he recreated a piece by Neil Welliver’s Brown Trout. Courtesy of Marguerite Lawler-Rohner

A self portrait by Lulu Stocklein, a sixth grader from Cape Elizabeth Middle School. Courtesy of Marguerite Lawler-Rohner

Criteria for the submitted pieces was “whatever would read best on the wall,” said Lawler-Rohner. Each student provided an artistic statement.

“This image was challenging and exciting for me,” said sixth-grader Holden Clayman. “I have never really finished a project in my life. I am glad I have finished. I hope everyone enjoys my work to the greatest extent, for it is my dream to become an artist.”

The event helped the students feel their work was important, said Lawler-Rohner. They had been preparing since September for the show.

“By actually having the school support them — and we had parents come also — I think that it also helps them understand that what they do has value,” she said. “When you think about it, what we learn in here isn’t any different than what real artists are doing.”

This is the first time that the middle school has had an art show on its own, Lawler-Rohner added.

“It’s very unusual to have the principal and superintendent support an art event,” she said. “And the state department did a very nice job organizing everything. We have very strong artists at the school.”

“I love art. it is calming and fun,” said sixth-grader Ella Reeves, who submitted a self-portrait. “I take pride in finishing a good piece. It is a part of me.”

Besides the assigned work, Lawler-Rohner said that she picked one other student’s independent collage. There was a variety in all of the pieces, and they line the hallways and offices for many to see and admire.

“I picked whatever resonated the most,” said Lawler-Rohner.

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