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News and Articles for Phoenix Central School District.

Artist, storyteller provides multifaceted lesson at EJD

1.	Artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino and Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-graders pose for a group photo following a StoryFaces presentation.Phoenix students recently received a multifaceted lesson as artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino brought his StoryFaces performance to Emerson J. Dillon Middle School.

With a full color palette in front of him, Agostino told several stories with Chinese and Japanese cultural roots. As he told each story, he used paint to transform students’ faces into the various scenes and characters. His stories ranged from comics to the supernatural, with some tales even based on Greek mythology.

“Some of these are 2000-year-old stories,” Agostino said. “But it’s these 2000-year-old stories that are still relevant in today’s world. These are stories of heroism. Be the hero in your own life.”

In addition to the tales of heroism, Agostino provided students with a comprehensive lesson, said art teacher Beth Pritchard.

“His sixth-grade performance was great and connected perfectly to the mask-making unit that we teach in our art curriculum! He talked about the importance of colors and icons as a way to represent symbols and meaning in art,” Pritchard said. “His stories ranged from a variety of different cultures from around the world and really made that historical connection that we talk about in class while researching for our own mask-making projects. This was a great way to incorporate everything into one presentation.”

JCB students shine at Scholastic Art Show

John C. Birdlebough High School students had a stellar showing at the recent Scholastic Art Show.

Eight students now have their artwork displayed through March 2 at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, to show Central New York residents how hard they worked on their pieces. The competition’s highest honor of a gold key was awarded to JCB junior Emily Forget for her photograph titled “Sunset over Troubled Waters.” She and her Phoenix Central School District peers were among the young artists in grades 7-12 whose 1,300 pieces of art were honored.

A silvery key award was presented to Nicole Henry for her photograph of “Strategy.” Honorable mention awards were presented to Chloe Calkins for her “Repousse” painting, Kearra Backus for her “Melting Pot” designs, Emilie Hilliard for her “Light Through the Forest” work, Gabrielle Crandell for her “Under a Spotted Sun” watercolor, Marian Sheirer for her “A Midnights Bloom” work and Vanessa Rivera for her “Flower” entry.

JCB art and photography teacher Chris Barrett commended the students for their efforts, and encouraged PCSD supporters and other CNY residents to attend the free exhibit.

student emily forget kneels with her photograph which won an award

JCB student Emily Forget proudly kneels alongside her winning entry “Sunset over Troubled Water,” which is
at the Whitney Applied Technology Center at Onondaga Community College, Syracuse, as part of the
annual Scholastic Art Show.



Phoenix students’ artwork in the spotlight

Michael A. Maroun Elementary Liam Considine, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Andrea Davis, Abigail Oeinck and Emma Dates proudly display their work that was recently on exhibit during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference in Binghamton.

Art students from Michael A. Maroun Elementary School recently had their work featured in a statewide exhibit in Binghamton.

The exhibit was on display during the annual New York State Art Teachers’ Association conference and showcased student artwork across a variety of mediums. The Phoenix Central School District was well represented, as 14 students were selected to have their work featured.

“I am very proud of the student work that was shown, and I received lots of good comments on their pieces,” said art teacher Kim Kittleson.

The students whose work was on exhibit included Olivia Eastman, Liam Considine, Keegan Webster, Abigail Oeinck, Andrea Davis, Kaylynn Butler, Caitlyn D’Arcy, Ava Perfetto, Mason Morris, Cheyenne Perryman, Jackson Collier, Sadie Grethel, Jack Kocher and Emma Dates.

Phoenix art students tour the Everson Museum

Eighth-grade studio art students from the Phoenix Central School District took their studies out of the classroom and into a museum during a recent field trip.

Eighth-graders from Emerson J. Dillon Middle School view exhibits during a recent tour of the Everson Museum of Art. The Emerson J. Middle School students visited the Everson Museum of Art, where they viewed special exhibits, toured the museum's permanent collection and learned about architecture and ceramics. Students viewed famous works from a variety of artists and noted the architectural design of the museum itself, created by artist I.M. Pei. Using their sketchbooks throughout the tour, they recorded details and chose their favorite work of art to formally critique in class using their knowledge of the elements and principles of design. 

The tour and transportation were possible thanks to The Richard S. Shineman Foundation Bus Fund, which was established in 2015 to subsidize bus transportation for Oswego County schools to engage in these types of art museum experiences.

StoryFaces provides Phoenix students with unique art lesson

1.	Artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino poses for a group photo with Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-graders whose faces were transformed into characters during a recent “StoryFaces” performance.

History, culture and art were weaved into several stories that captivated an audience of Emerson J. Dillon Middle School students during a recent presentation.

Artist and storyteller Christopher Agostino met with sixth and eighth-graders to infuse arts in education with his “StoryFaces” show. Agostino told a variety of stories while simultaneously transforming the faces of student volunteers into the characters. His stories ranged from traditional folktales to original works.

“I hope these performances inspire the students,” Agostino said. “I want them to get a sense of what’s possible in the arts. It’s also a way to get them to think about other cultures and other people. It shows the unity of human culture.”

The students learned about modern art and African art as Agostino created asymmetrical designs and pattern to transform the students’ faces. His work used inspiration from Picasso and cubism to create the StoryFaces characters.

“Art functions for all cultures the same way,” Agostino said. “It’s meant to make you think … not only about yourself, but the world around you too.”

MAM students’ work on display at Beaver Lake Nature Center

Five students from Michael A. Maroun Elementary School will have their artwork on display throughout April at the Beaver Lake Nature Center.

The exhibit features student-submitted work from elementary-age children representing districts across the region. Nature themes ranging from animals to landscapes will be represented in drawings, paintings, prints and collages as part of the “Student Art – Naturally” display.

MAM art teacher Kathy Lambert noted that she was proud of her students and lauded their creativity. She congratulated students Hannah Brooker, Aubrey Chesbro, Jackson Collier, Kendall Barnes and Emma Fox, whose artwork will be featured in the exhibit.

An opening reception will be held at the nature center April 9 to honor the young artists. Refreshments will be served to those in attendance.

EJD 8th graders explore the arts

Emerson J. Dillon Middle School eighth-grade studio art students recently traveled to the Everson Art Museum in Syracuse where a docent showcased special exhibitions, the museum’s permanent collection, architecture highlights and ceramic pieces.

The students viewed famous works from artists such as Andy Warhol, Janet Fish and Adelaide Alsop Robineau. Using their sketchbooks throughout the tour, they recorded memorable details and chose their favorite work of art to formally critique in class using their knowledge of the Elements and Principles of Design. Teacher Beth Pritchard said it was exciting as an educator to watch her students analyze famous works by using art vocabulary and other knowledge learned in class.

The trip was made possible by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation Bus Fund, which was established in 2015 to subsidize bus transportation for Oswego County schools to engage in art museum experiences.

Eighth-grade studio art students from EJD Middle School
recently explored the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse.

Peruvian Orphans Receive EJD Artwork

A class art project that began last year with students at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School made its impact across the globe this summer.

The Phoenix Central School District’s global reach stemmed from a project last spring spearheaded by EJD art teacher Ashley Modafferi. As part of the Memory Project, eighth-grade studio art students transformed photos of Peruvian orphans into hand-drawn portraits intended to help the children feel loved and to spread kindness throughout the world.

When the children in Peru received these portraits over the summer, a video crew was on hand to document their reactions. For Modafferi, the joy on the recipients’ faces was rewarding and heartwarming.

“I couldn't be prouder and more excited about this opportunity,” Modafferi said. “I had to share!”

Phoenix Students Showcase Artistic Abilities

Students in grades seven through 12 at Phoenix Central School District recently had the opportunity to showcase their artwork at a District Art Show held at John C. Birdlebough High School.

Parents, teachers and peers came out to the school in support of their loved ones’ artistic endeavors. The school halls were filled with paintings, photography, ceramics and more.

Many of the pieces shown displayed artistic concepts that were learned in class. For instance, after viewing ancient Navajo and Tibetan mandalas, eighth-grade artists were inspired to create such symmetrical name designs. The students researched typography, patterns and color schemes to disguise their names into their designs.

One piece that was on display was the trophy from the 29th Annual Feats of Clay competition held in May. Over 20 schools participate in this event, which is hosted by Clayscapes Pottery and supported by Onondaga Community College and the Independent Potters Association. Each year, the winning team adds their own piece to the trophy that represents their school. Phoenix Central School District and West Genesee School District earned the honor this year.

 Phoenix student Megan Rowe stands proudly with her impressive and diverse
art collection.

EJD Art Students Win Local Poster Contest

Beth Pritchard’s seventh-grade art students at Emerson J. Dillon Middle School recently participated in the Syracuse Chiefs poster contest, sponsored by NY’s 529 College Savings Program.

Using their knowledge of the elements of art, the students designed posters around the theme of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game!” After a panel of judges reviewed submissions, EJD seventh-graders Sara Brunell and Shay Altman were selected as winners for the sixth-eighth grade category. Both students were honored on the field during the May 4 Education Day at the NBT Bank Stadium in Syracuse. Brunell and Altman were awarded Chiefs hats, certificates of honor and four tickets each to a future game.

All submitted posters from Central New York students also were on display throughout the stadium.


EJD Middle School students Sara Brunell and Shay Altman were honored during a recent Syracuse Chiefs
baseball game for creating winning baseball-themed poster designs.