*Update: Artist in Residence Project

*Update: Artist in Residence Project
Posted on 04/14/2020
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The Indian Lake Elementary Artist in Residence Wetland Project will continue with plenty of community support once the shutdown is over. 

ILES art teacher Terry Nelson is confident the end result will be fantastic, whenever that may be. 

“I was disappointed of course, but how could we continue without our little artists, who were eager to do the work?" Nelson asks.

“I just want to reassure them that while it is hard to wait, it will be worth the wait. We need them all to stay home and stay healthy, so we can continue working to finish, when it is safe to do so.”

Just before shutdown, Nelson and Artist in Residence Melissa Terlizzi accepted a $1,900 grant from the Logan County Electric Cooperative. That money, along with a $500 grant from the Indian Lake Community Church, will allow for each ILES student to have their own copy of an alphabet book featuring the wetland-inspired artwork once the project is complete. In addition, the ILES Parent-Teacher Organization also agreed to pay for five additional days for Terlizzi to work with students and finish the art installation. Nelson says she is thrilled with all the support for the project. 

Since early December, ILES art students in grades kindergarten through fourth have been working with Virginia polymer clay artist Melissa Terlizzi through an Ohio Arts Council Artist in Residence grant. Students used the easy-to-work-with colored clay to create take home plant life and wildlife examples of the flora and fauna found in the wetlands just behind the elementary school on the Indian Lake Schools campus. Teachers also used the study of these plants and animals in other areas of their grade level curriculum, such as science and writing. 

Nelson explains the vast array of life in the nearby wetland represents every letter of the alphabet. As such, Terlizzi and the students were in the process of making letter panels covered in corresponding plants and animals that will be displayed in a permanent art installation at ILES. Those letters will also be photographed and made into a book written by students in Cammie Honaker’s fourth grade advanced language arts class.  

When the shutdown occurred, Terlizzi took many of the letters home to Virginia for baking and completion. Once school is back in session, Nelson says Terlizzi will return to help students finish the project. A community reveal of the art installation will take place when appropriate.

*The frog with the mask picture is an example of one of Melissa Terlizzi polymer clay creations made during this period of quarantine and social isolation. 

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The Artist in Residence Wetland project at ILES is really taking shape!
Artist in Residence Melissa Terlizzi is back for several days helping students create pieces out of polymer clay that will be included in the project. Right now they are making different kinds of berries, grasses and the plants that are found in the wetland behind ILES. Several classes have already finished their critters from the wetlands that they will get to take home. 
Terlizzi and ILES Art Teacher Terry Nelson say the project is coming right along!

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Work to create a school-wide project highlighting the ILES wetland is underway with the Indian Lake Elementary School Artist In Residence.  
In the summer of 2019, ILES was awarded an $11,100 Artist In Residence Grant from the Ohio Department of Education to create a project inspired by the wetland on school property just behind the building. 
Melissa Terlizzi and ILES Art Teacher Terry Nelson are helping students learn how to use polymer clay to forge wetland flora and fauna.
Terlizzi is a polymer clay artist coming to ILES from Virginia. She explains that polymer clay is easy to work with for children because it blends well, is lightweight and requires no firing or glazing. 
The students first choose colors appropriate for what they are making, then they work the clay and roll the colors together to make layered "canes." Finally, they use a pasta machine to flatten the clay and then mold it into shapes.
Currently, the older grade levels are working on individual wetland creatures, such as turtles and fire flies. Younger grade levels are starting to make parts of the sky and plant life found in the wetlands behind the school. 
Terlizzi says, "The kids are all attentive and eager to learn...this is so much fun!" 
Nelson explains the entire project is a dream she has had for a long time.  
"I actually had written a similar grant for this project 5-6 years ago, but didn't get it.  I am just in love with polymer clay and how many ways artists can use it. And I'm excited to be able to involve every student."

Terlizzi and Nelson have carefully planned what students in each grade level will contribute. The overall project will consist of an alphabet wall, where each letter highlights animals and plants found in the nearby wetland environment. They have already created a sample letter "M" (as in Melissa) to use as inspiration.
Outside of art class, teachers are using the Artist in Residence wetland project as a springboard for further studies in the classroom. Lifecycle studies of butterflies and frogs are standard curriculum for elementary level science. The ILES COSI on Wheels program in December focused on ecology to accompany the project. In addition, the gifted class spent weeks researching which plants and animals should be included in the art installation and also came up with the idea of making it into a commemorative alphabet book for each ILES student. This spring, technology students will help with the layout of the book and add the text, written by students, digitally.
Terlizzi's contacts at Polyform Products donated half of the polymer clay to be used in the project. The Artist in Resident grant and other donations to the school will cover the rest of the project costs. 

Terlizzi will spend several days working with the students over the next semester. When complete, all the letters will be displayed in the school as a permanent installation. In addition, students will all be able to make their own polymer clay projects to take home. 
The finished project will be unveiled to the public this spring.