Mahoning Valley students create art for Akron Children’s
By Jordyn Grzelewski
When Akron Children’s Hospital went looking for art to display at its Beeghly Campus, it didn’t have to look far.
Students from all over the area created pieces that will hang in the hospital’s Building A, which is undergoing expansion. The building addition will have some 200 paintings on display, art consultant Ron Beahn said.
“All artwork in the hospital is done by children. Whenever we do an expansion, we go into the areas that that particular hospital is serving,” he said.
Since 1993, Akron Children’s art program has collected work from area students that is meant to appeal to the children whom the hospital serves.
“Art can be very soothing. It can be very educational. It has a lot of meaning and abilities to do things for people,” said Beahn.
Amanda Bero, an art teacher at Boardman High School, knew right away that some of her students would be interested in tackling the assignment, which was to create paintings in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe.
“I think it’s an incredible opportunity. To just be handed that opportunity is very rare, especially at such a young age,” said Bero.
Boardman seniors Izzy Walsh, Gina Armeni and Holly Yarab and junior Rachel Hritz completed five paintings based on photographs of flowers that Bero herself took while she was studying art at Youngstown State University. The pieces are done in the style of O’Keeffe, who is known for her large, bold and vibrant paintings of flowers.
Four pieces are oil paintings, and Hritz’s is an acrylic painting. Yarab painted two of the five pieces.
Bero is proud of her students not just for their final products, but because of the hard work they put into the assignment. All the work was done on their own time. Walsh, Armeni, Yarab and Hritz would come in early to school and stay late to work on their paintings. They worked through lunches and study halls, too. In all, it took them about five months.
“I think they learned a lot about working with a client and marking art that’s not for yourself,” said Bero.
“The girls were very, very easy to work with,” said Beahn. “What they ended up with was a really fine project.”
Students from Austintown, Canfield, Poland and other area schools also will have their work displayed. The artwork is slated for installation sometime in June.
“I have hopes that some of the students stay in the area. It will be nice for them to go and view their paintings in a public setting down the road,” said Bero.