Art program helps Blazers "Make Connections"

June 1, 2003, midnight | By Anna Benfield | 16 years, 7 months ago

Students miss class to make multimedia books

Three Blair students joined twelve other teens from the D.C. and MD area in "Making Connections," a week long bookmaking program sponsored by Pyramid Atlantic that culminated in a reception at Mayorga Coffee Factory.

The process gave students an opportunity to develop artistic techniques and prepared them for the scholastic and professional application process with a strong portfolio piece. According to Blair art teacher Mary Bloom, participating in such a strong program with a nationally recognized organization will give these rising artists a competitive edge over their peers in upcoming years.

During the week of May 12-16, sophomore Wei Yun Weng and juniors Ariel Wilchek and Cat Clark missed school to participate in the 9-4 pm sessions at the Pyramid Atlantic studio facilities in Riverdale, MD where they learned how to combine modern screen printing, digital imaging and paper making techniques to develop a multimedia handmade book.

Weng thoroughly appreciated the opportunity to develop the skills and experience she needs to pursue a possible career in art. "For me it was a once in a lifetime opportunity; I enjoyed that," she said.

At the reception on May 29, the students presented their work and explained their personal journeys through the creative process as they developed their books. The students were selected by their teachers at seven area high schools and asked in advance to complete a collage to use as a spring board for their work.

The encompassing theme, interactions, inspired drastically different projects. The young artists took unique paths in exploring their ideas about identity, culture, society, religion, democracy and self-expression. Titles included "Perception is reality," "You're a liar or you're a listener" and "Can you see the light?"

Wilchek, whose book, "Conflict Resolution," visually described the emotional experience as individuals clash and then forgive, was thoroughly impressed by the digital capabilities and instructional guidance that helped her developed her art.

She found the experience much more relevant to her future than other academic commitments. "My favorite part was missing school to do something that I cared about instead of just sitting in physics and twiddling my thumbs," she said.

Bloom was thrilled that Wilchek had the opportunity to pursue her artistic passion. "She'll look back on this and see it as one of the most important connections she's made in her life."

For more information about upcoming events, workshops and volunteer opportunities, visit

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Anna Benfield. Anna Benfield is a CAP swimmer, field hockey and lacrosse goalie and diversity workshop leader. She loves biking, sailing, collages, the zoo and her little brother. More »

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