The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

The Danville News

May 25, 2011

Warrior Run students create mosaics

TURBOTVILLE — An anti-bullying campaign has brought out the artist in Warrior Run students who’ve loaned their talents to three large glass mosaics that will hang in the high school building.

Linda Billet has been the artist-in-residence at Warrior Run High School for four weeks through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

The Hummelstown artist, who specializes in cut-glass and mosaic art, said Wednesday that the 170-mile round trip has been well worth it to see the students — about 100 of them between fifth and 12th grades — discover what they can do.

“The more the kids got involved, the more connected they became to the project and each other,” she said. “They are so proud of it.”

The three mosaics, about 3-by-6 feet and 100 pounds each, will hang side by side before a wall of windows in the high school. Each has a rich, deep color wave that, when viewed together, will look like one wave.

The mosaics should be done by this evening, Billet said, and will be hung in the high school soon after.

The students also chose three quotes — from Martin Luther King, President Abraham Lincoln and Gandhi — for the murals, which promote a theme of unity and understanding.

“The students did everything: grouting, cutting glass, placing the tiles,” Billet said, some coming in as often as three times a day with whatever free time they had for the project.

“It was overwhelming how many kids came and how much time they gave,” she said. As Billet spoke, several Warrior Run students were putting finishing touches on one of the mosaics, taping down some tiles, grouting others and admiring their handiwork.

“Having so many students with different needs from different grade levels working together, it’s collectively a positive project,” said Matthew Watts, an art teacher for fifth and sixth grades.

A lot about art is problem-solving, Billet said, and thinking outside the box. That is what she believes many of the Warrior Run students learned working on the mosaics.

“These are kids who have different kinds of smarts,” Billet said, “the kids who learn things in different ways. Some may feel like they’re not very smart, but look at the community involved in these works.”

“I’m amazed at how it supports everything I already thought: There’s something for everyone,” Billet said. “To me, it’s a vocation, you learn that you can do anything you want.”

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