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On-Line Edition      Thursday, August 17, 2017      Vol. 59  No. 33

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Time for a toast

Tri-Town YMCA is gearing up for its Tri-Town Toast fund-raising wine tasting event to be held Saturday, Sept. 9, from 1-5 p.m., at Famous Liquors, 105 E. Roosevelt Road, Lombard. Pictured at Famous Liquors with Chicago Cubs jersey raffle items for the event, signed by Joe Maddon and Kyle Schwarber, are (left to right) Famous Liquors owner Jeff Sukowski, Y Development and Community Relations Manager Holly Zielinski, Y Interim CEO and Executive Director Deb Allen and Y board President and event chair Whitney Cimaglia. For more information, see article in Lombard News.          Photo by Steve Spoden

                ***** Out & About  by Jane Charmelo *****

Students combine art and gardening for school project

    After talking with Judi Heikes for just a few minutes, it's clear she not only enjoys being a school volunteer, but also wants to go beyond reading and math to get through to her students.    Heikes was a volunteer at St. Alexander Catholic School in Villa Park before coming to Sacred Heart Catholic School in Lombard, to work with art teacher Laura Kuhrau.
    Their relationship began, she recalled, not necessarily because she wanted to work with art: "She [Kuhrau] claimed me," Heikes quipped. "She raised her hand quicker than anybody else" when it came time to request classroom volunteers.
    The volunteer related how, during the year, "I bring treats for the kids," adding that at Easter time she gave them flower seeds.
    She had ordered them from Pioneer Garden and Feed in Villa Park, and manager Bill Karges said he offered her a discount for 75 packets of marigold seeds.
    That planted the "seeds" of an idea for Heikes: "I suggested to Laura that the kids do a project with marigolds...they're easy [to] grow."
    According to Kuhrau, she chose the sixth-grade class to put together what became known as the "Marigold Project," in which students painted a white picket fence with marigolds growing along the bottom.
    "We made it part of our [art] curriculum," Kuhrau narrated, saying that it was not just about painting a picture.
    "We talked about how to put the marigolds in some kind of context," the art teacher explained, adding that she showed the students pictures and real marigolds, and they used mini stencils of picket fences to create their own look.
    "It was a step-by-step process," she continued — learning to draw the marigolds and eventually creating watercolor paintings.    "It was more about working with the medium," Kuhrau said, adding that watercolor is her medium of choice and she had her students using "real artist materials."
    "A watercolor is meant to capture the essence of the flower," she believes.
    "The shade, the depth — there are artistic principles she taught them," Heikes observed, adding that Kuhrau is "an amazing teacher."
    The students, she added, all 'went to town'" to complete the project.
    However, that was not the end of the project, because Heikes approached Karges about allowing the paintings to be put on display in a window at Pioneer Garden and Feed.
    "The kids would really enjoy this — that's what I was thinking," she said.
    "I knew from my history that Bill, as a younger man, they let him decorate a window," she said of owners Tony and Angie Rojek.
    "He was so enthusiastic," Heikes said of the Pioneer manager's willingness to participate in the Marigold Project, and so were the students, Kuhrau recalled.
    "They embraced it. Kudos to them," she added.
    The display shows off the paintings, each one from the students' unique perspective. The backdrop of paintings is flanked by a piece of white picket fence that the art teacher "rescued."
    "They [paintings] all look a little different, which I love," Kuhrau outlined. "I was very proud of them."
    "I was overwhelmed how it looked," Heikes commented.
    Karges said he was happy to be part of the students' project, saying they are "learning a little bit about where things come in the world...teaching kids about the natural world."
    Kuhrau said she wanted to give "a shout out to Bill" for his participation.
    She said the project is not just about art or gardening, but "I really like that community outreach" between a school and a local business.
    Heikes emphasized that for her, the idea for the Marigold Project had a lot to do with her views on school curricula, saying, "My true belief is [about] art in the schools — look what these kids do."
    "She's all about championing the arts," Kuhrau praised, and mentioned, "I'm always planning. I'll do this project again," although the subject matter will be different.
    Heikes said she wanted the students to "encourage one another over the summer; I gave them watercolors...anything I can do to keep them connected to art."
    Kuhrau encourages anyone interested in the art program at Sacred Heart School to visit www.shslombard.org or call 630-629-0536.
    "I'm happy to share our program with everybody out there," she added.
    Pioneer Garden and Feed is located at 118 S. Villa Ave., Villa Park. Visit www.pioneergardenandfeed.com or call 630-832-0815 for more information.

                 *** September 11, 2011 ***