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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2004

Perrysburg: Young artist's travels influence local display

BY RACHEL ZINN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
John T. Hrosko is proud of his drawings that are hanging in Perrysburg Municipal Court. John T. Hrosko is proud of his drawings that are hanging in Perrysburg Municipal Court.
MAXWELL / BLADE Enlarge

John T. Hrosko recently helped photograph some of the grandest cathedrals in Italy, but he still has an appreciation for the lovely details of local buildings.

His ink drawings of Perrysburg landmarks are on view until the end of the month at the Perrysburg Municipal Court, and then the six-drawing exhibit will move to the Way Public Library in Perrysburg for another month. The drawings may continue on to the Perrysburg Senior Center later in the year.

"I definitely want to do more drawings now that I know there will be enough space to display them," Mr. Hrosko, 23, said.

A graduate of Central Catholic High School and Bowling Green State University, Mr. Hrosko dabbles in many types of fine arts. He plays drums and guitar, draws and paints, and creates sculptures from natural materials.

He has done drawings for the Vistula Historic Foundation of Toledo Home Tour and taught drawing part-time at Owens Community College.

"I must have been the youngest person teaching there," he said. "I grew a beard to try to get some respect."

He also worked as a glass blower and had a job at a framing store in West Toledo before beginning his current work at the 577 Foundation in Perrysburg. At the non-profit agency, Mr. Hrosko gives tours and helps maintain the grounds.

Last summer, Mr. Hrosko made a giant contribution to the 577 Foundation. He constructed a 14-foot-high teepee by intertwining small trees and twigs. The work is based on the sculptures of Patrick Dougherty, an internationally known artist who Mr. Hrosko met when he was a BGSU student.

The sculpture, which resembles a wooden hut with doors and windows, remains on display on the 577 Foundation grounds.

"The kids love it," Mr. Hrosko said. "They climb all over it."

Helen Haas, a 577 Foundation volunteer, is so impressed by the sculpture that she is hoping Mr. Hrosko will build a similar one for the W.W. Knight Nature Preserve in Perrysburg Township. Ms. Haas, a member of the All Thumbs Garden Club, is trying to convince the group to sponsor the project.

"The teepee is absolutely beautiful," Ms. Haas said. "I think John is just fantastic."

Mr. Hrosko took his artistic eye overseas for three weeks this summer, assisting photographer and former BGSU instructor Kevin Vereecke with a project that combined the art of photography with the science of astronomy.

The pair spent much of their time at the Vatican Observatory just south of Rome, where Mr. Hrosko viewed one of the world's most extensive meteorite collections.

"I got to touch these pieces of meteorite that no one is even allowed to breathe on," Mr. Hrosko said. "I got to handle these things with latex gloves."

Mr. Vereecke also photographed the observatory's rare book collection, which included original drawings by astronomer Galileo Galilei.

In addition to helping Mr. Vereecke at the observatory, Mr. Hrosko lugged camera gear to several other Italian cities. Mr. Vereecke photographed churches with floors decorated by meridian lines, which allowed people to tell the date by looking at where the sun fell on the floor.

"We got access to lots of cathedrals and places most people aren't allowed to photograph," Mr. Hrosko said.

Now that he has returned home, Mr. Hrsoko, the son of Perrysburg Township Administrator John G. Hrosko, said he is unsure exactly what to do next. He is searching for studio space and plans to keep playing music.

"I'm just riding the wave," he said.



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