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Published: Wednesday, 12/3/2008

Program lets students break mold on thinking about books' artwork

BY ANGIE SCHMITT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Art teacher Cynthia Bodziak talks to fourth graders on making animals out of clay during class at Ottawa Hills Elementary. Art teacher Cynthia Bodziak talks to fourth graders on making animals out of clay during class at Ottawa Hills Elementary.
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There's a heated campaign under way at Ottawa Hills Elementary School, and the candidates are illustrators of children's books.

Fourth-grader Rebecca Brown, 10, is rooting for Chris Canyon, the artist behind Take Me Home, Country Roads, an illustrated adaptation of the John Denver song.

"He did all these little dots and it looks like a quilt," Rebecca said.

Her classmate Jamie Thees, also 10, favors Mr. Canyon's wife, Jeanette, who provided the ambiance for City Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem.

Kyleigh Baird, left, makes a rabbit out of clay while Madison Shimboroske, works on her own project. The creations are inspired by the book City Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem. Kyleigh Baird, left, makes a rabbit out of clay while Madison Shimboroske, works on her own project. The creations are inspired by the book City Beats: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

"She makes it out of clay and takes a picture of it and puts it in a book," Jamie said.


Students at the school have been researching Mr. and Mrs. Canyon as well as Perrysburg resident and illustrator Dominic Catalano, as part of their initiation as a Mazza School. The program is administered by the University of Findlay's Mazza Museum, which is dedicated to the artwork that adorns children's books. The museum has more than 3,700 original works in its collection.

In art class, Ottawa Hills students have been working with each of the three Ohio authors' distinct mediums: pastel, clay, and watercolor.

Last week, students in Cynthia Bodziak's art class were hard at work with clay.

Miranda Hupp, 9, displays the Tweety Bird she crafted from clay in art class. Her work was inspired by the book City Beasts: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem illustrated by Jeanette Canyon. Miranda Hupp, 9, displays the Tweety Bird she crafted from clay in art class. Her work was inspired by the book City Beasts: A Hip-Hoppy Pigeon Poem illustrated by Jeanette Canyon.
THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY Enlarge | Buy This Photo

Kyleigh Baird, 9, made a snowman with a green sweatshirt and blue polka dots.

Miranda Hupp, 9, made a butterfly - "a princess butterfly."

Tommy Herman, 9, made a penguin and a coil.

Mrs. Bodziak said she wants her students to learn "an appreciation for the work that it takes to make a picture book."

"It's 32 pages of beautiful, beautiful art," she said.

Her students were also designing signs for a rally that was to be held on Monday. Students from all grade levels were to give speeches and shout and cheer in support of their favorite illustrator at the rally. Students and staff have been logging votes for their favorite candidate this week.

The winning author's artwork will be sponsored by Ottawa Hills. The school's contribution will be designated with a plaque at the Mazza Museum. The cost to participate is $1,000.

The winning piece of artwork will be unveiled at an assembly Dec. 16.

"Whenever the school personnel or students visit the museum, they can proudly know that they are a part of what makes us great," Terry Olthouse, education coordinator for the museum, said.

Between one and three schools participate in the program each year. This year, Ottawa Hills is the only participating school, Mr. Olthouse said.

Past Mazza Schools from northwest Ohio include Pettisville School, Whitehouse School, and Fort Meigs Elementary School.

Contact Angie Schmitt at:

aschmitt@theblade.com

or 419-724-6104.



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