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Art works of three local high school students are on display through June 30 at Lafayette’s Williams Visual Arts Building, 234 North Third Street, Easton, as part of an exhibition entitled “Selections from Thursday Night” in the Richard A. and Rissa W. Grossman Gallery.

The students are Easton Area High School seniors Jillian Dy and Talia Shulze, and Wardlaw-Hartridge School junior Mara Goldman-Palumbo of Phillipsburg. “Selections” includes works done by a variety of artists in the free, open-studio, live-model sessions that Lafayette’s Community-Based Teaching program has been conducting for the public this spring on Thursday evenings at the Williams Visual Arts Building.

Some of the artists are well known in the area, such as sculptor Virginia Abbott and painters Isadore LaDuca and Pamalee LaDuca, while others are just coming onto the scene, says Jim Toia, director of Community-Based Teaching and the Grossman Gallery

There will be a public reception for the artists at the gallery from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, May 31.

“The exhibit includes works by a wide range of artists using an extraordinarily diverse group of media, all addressing the human form,” Toia says. “Works take the shape of paintings, sculpture, photographs, and drawings. More than 20 artists are represented, from high school students to senior members of the arts community of Easton.”

The other artists represented in the exhibit are Christopher Arranz, Katie Behler, Vera Bergstein, Anthony Crisafulli, Paul Deery, Charlie Hanson, Irene Gilbert, Joan Loneless, Ken Kewley, Anthony J. Marraccini, Danny Moyer, Gene Palmiter, Carol Perlowski, Maryann Riker, Pearl Rosenberg, and Bob Thena.

Open-studio drawing sessions will continue on Thursday evenings from 7:30-10 p.m. through July, with the exception of July 5. Following an August hiatus, the sessions will resume Thursday, September 6. The public is welcome, but there is no formal instruction available. For more information, call Toia, (610) 330-5577.

Summer hours for the Grossman Gallery are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and noon to 5 p.m. on Saturday.

High school students also have been taking advantage of another new opportunity for art education at Lafayette. Since early March, about a dozen students of Easton Area High School art teacher and art coordinator Roseann Raniszewski have been coming to the Williams Visual Arts Building for art classes led by Toia from 6-8 p.m. Tuesdays.

“I’m trying to expose the students to a wide variety of ideas and methods, and learning what they are interested in, so I can keep the program dynamic for them,” Toia says, adding that seniors, juniors, and sophomores have taken part in the sessions so far.

An accomplished painter and sculptor, Toia has taught at Lafayette since 1997. He has mounted more than a dozen solo exhibitions. His work has appeared in more than 30 group shows and is included in several corporate and museum collections, including those of AT&T and the Dallas Museum of Art.

“What we’ve been doing primarily are workshops featuring the artists showing in the Grossman Gallery,” says Toia. “We’re giving students a chance to meet with the artists and learn about each one’s particular approach, process, and aesthetics.”

The students have had a drawing session in which they discussed drawing materials and methods and made drawings of a still-life scene. In one class, they viewed a 45-minute slide presentation by Toia on the development of Abstract Expressionism in the United States, then went to see the film Pollock, about the American painter Jackson Pollock, one of the leading exponents of that genre, who developed the “drip painting” technique for which he is well-known. In a later session, they made a Pollock-style drip painting of their own.

In another session, the students viewed works by international painter and sculptor Emil Lukas that were on display in the Grossman Gallery, and discussed the exhibit with Toia while viewing slides of other works by Lukas.

For the exhibit, Lukas, a resident of nearby Stockertown, Pa., chose works that use a wide range of objects, including plaster, potato chips, fish heads, and house flies, to produce spontaneously crafted marks in paintings and sculptures.

Later the students made molds of sculptures with Lukas by pouring plastic into combinations of foamcore, cardboard, and clay to visualize the sculpting process in reverse.

In other workshops, students have learned from two other regional artists whose works were displayed earlier this year in the Grossman Gallery, painter Isadore LaDuca of Raubsville and sculptor Koenraad Van Linden Tol of Easton. With Van Linden Tol, the young artists tried their hand at carving from base wood.

Future sessions will feature sculptor Gwenyth Jones of Scranton, who also was in the regional exhibition, and Ross Gay, a 1996 Lafayette graduate, who will lead a poetry and painting workshop. In addition, Toia will take the students outdoors to hunt for items such as mushroom spores to incorporate into art made from natural objects.

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