By LISA CAPOBIANCO
A group of local high school students brought their illustrations to life at the New Britain Museum of American Arts.
From snakes to cartoon characters to classic actors such as the late Charlie Chaplin, the students expressed their creativity and artistic skills through a Popular Media artist-in-residence workshop this past summer at Plainville Public Library. They worked with local graphic artist Joe Molnar in a workshop, which was funded by a $2,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain.
The teens shared their works of art during a showcase at the museum with other young artists from Southington, Berlin, and New Britain.
Kathryn Matsuzaki, the coordinator of school and family programs at the museum, said she was amazed at what this group of teens accomplished in a matter of weeks.
“It was so wonderful to see student artwork on the walls,” Matsuzaki said. “It was meant to be seen by not only parents and family, but also meant to be seen by actual visitors.”
Seeing their personalities shine through the artwork displayed at the museum, Kathryn said the workshops gave the students the opportunity to enhance their artistic skills and teamwork skills.
“Now they have something they can take with them,” she said. “I was impressed at how professional and well done they created the artwork.”
Molnar worked with the students over a period of six weeks. An experienced graphic designer and web designer, Molnar said he was excited to share his passion with students during the workshop.
“I am really happy that the library was able to do this,” said Molnar, who also paints, creates music, and has experience in photography. “We need more culture and art in our community.”
Molnar assigned the students a number of illustration projects, including the creation of a poster that represented an advertisement of the students’ favorite movie. One of the students created a sketch of Charlie Chaplin, an actor from the silent film era. Another assignment involved an expression of popular culture, in which one participant created a sketch of Pikachu, the iconic character from the children’s series, Pokémon.
“As the class progressed, they felt more comfortable working on a larger scale,” Molnar said. “They all did great work.”
Bob Trojanowski, the vice president of operations at the foundation, said the workshop was a “gratifying experience” for students who are interested in the arts. Trojanowski also said he hopes the foundation will bring more art workshops in the near future.
“It allowed us to combine art with education,” Trojanowksi said. “It is really the kids working together as a team.”