Wallkill Valley Regional High School recently won $1,000 for “Best Theme Group Collaboration” at Crystal Springs’ annual Jack-O-Lantern carving contest on Oct. 28.
Schools from the area were invited to take part in the special event. Teachers and their students created a thematic pumpkin display, which were shown at the grounds of the Grand Cascades Lodge in Hamburg during the week leading up to Halloween.
Wallkill Valley won with its carved perception of “Keith Haring.” Keith Haring was a popular artist who was part of the New York art scene during the 1980s. Haring became popular for his spontaneous drawings in the New York City subways. Haring drew chalk outlines of dogs, figures and other stylish images on blank black advertising spaces.
“The work of Keith Haring is covered in the Wallkill Valley Regional High School arts curriculum at all levels; from the introductory art classes up to the advanced, studio, and AP level classes,” Fine Arts instructor Amy Fairweather said.
Wallkill Valley art instructors Rebekah Marxe, MaryRose Potanka, Fairweather, Chris Daken-Stefanski were all involved in the development of the project.
Wallkill generated hype around the project during the week of the event by using Wallkill’s Instagram account, @wvrhs.art to post teasers and close-ups of student work and originals of Haring.
The upper-level art class students were given the workload for WVRHS’s Keith Haring, with the exception of Wallkill student Georgia Wheeler, who concentrated her efforts on creating a lifelike portrait of Keith Haring.
“Georgia was the perfect candidate for the task. Her attention to complex detail is evident in all that she does,” Fairweather said.
The students constructed the backdrop in the form of a custom immersive room, which was designed to hold the Haring-inspired pumpkins. In addition, numerous props from the woodshop department was included under the guidance of Industrial Arts Teacher, Mr. Devore. The wooden set included pumpkin pedestals in the form of hand painted triple eye smiles, and a 3D boombox with carved pumpkins functioning as its speakers.
“This project represents Wallkill Valley Regional High School at its finest; the perfect example of school-wide team collaboration. Everyone pitched in, and we’re so grateful for the support,” Marxen said.