The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Education

October 13, 2013

Salisbury sophomore organizes auction of art made by teens

Salisbury High School sophomore Matthew Fainor did not have to think long when he was asked to create a community service event as part of an enrichment class.

"It was a week after Linny Fowler's passing, and I thought to myself, 'How can I help The Baum School of Art and also celebrate her legacy?'" he says.

Fainor, who has been taking classes at Baum since age 4, was moved to continue the work of philanthropist Marlene "Linny" Fowler, who died Feb. 4. He printed out flyers seeking assistance, and galvanized a group of his peers and formed the Linny's Kids Teen Auction Committee.

The group will curate a silent auction at Baum's fall gala, "Art: The Tools of Success" on Saturday. It will consist of artwork created and donated by teens to raise money for the Linny's Kids Scholarship Fund.

"Linny was a champion of the idea that through art, every child has the tools to increase self-confidence and find success," says Shannon Slattery Fugate, executive director of Baum. "At the Baum School of Art, we celebrate that very idea and provide opportunities for students to become one of Linny's Kids through our financial aid and community program opportunities."

The fund, created by Fowler 10 years ago with an initial commitment of $250,000 to be used over five years, has provided tuition assistance to about 4,000 students who would not have been able to reap the benefits of art education.

Eligible students receive $220, which covers the cost of instruction and materials for a 10-week class.

"As long as students show they are in need of the funds and that they are committed to art education, we will accept them," Slattery Fugate says.

Fainor says, "I wanted to continue the work of Fowler, who was a huge proponent of art education and kindness. For her, it was all about giving people the skills to realize their dreams and make them happy."

Fainor has taken an array of classes at Baum, including painting, drawing, sculpture and ceramics. Recently, he has developed a passion for metalsmithing and jewelry.

"Metalsmithing is different from all of the other classes that I've taken," says Fainor, who prefers making jewelry over wearing it. "Basically, it's sculpture with fire, which I think is really neat. Metal is something you think you can't shape, but you can. It's fun taming the beast."

Fainor is no stranger to taking charge. As president of his sophomore class, he helps organize school events. He also enjoys playing the saxophone, running cross country and skiing.

Stepping up to help Fainor were fellow Baum students Julia Moore, a sophomore at the Perkiomen School who studies metalsmithing; Meng Wu, a senior at Dieruff High School who studies painting and ceramics; and Jacob Zelenkofske, a sophomore at Southern Lehigh High School who studies painting and graphic design.

"I love the idea that they are using their creativity to help their peers be creative," Slattery Fugate said. "I get teary-eyed every time I think about it. Linny was a great friend and mentor to me during my first two years at Baum, and watching these teens continue her work is just so touching. She would have been so proud."

Fainor and his fellow committee members are expecting about 20 pieces of artwork to be donated. The pieces will represent varying artistic mediums, including ceramics, drawings, graphics, jewelry, paintings, photos and sculptures.

The group does not have a specific fundraising goal — just a goal of helping.

"It wasn't about the money as much as the idea," Fainor says. "We may only be teens, but we are impacting the community in a positive way."

Fainor will donate at least two of his jewelry pieces, a butterfly cuff bracelet and a circle-shaped necklace, both made of nickel silver.

The Baum gala will include an appearance by visiting artist Rob Evans, a contemporary realist painter and illustrator whose work has been on display at the school since Sept. 18, as well as a silent auction of other items, including a museum membership and restaurant gift certificates.

The school will be honoring Linny's memory with various speakers, including both Fainor and Slattery Fugate.

"The event will be held in the Fowler Community Room, so there's really no way getting around not honoring her," Slattery Fugate says jokingly. "We will mostly talk about her impact, which is thousands of kids who were given a chance to create and dream."

While Fainor never received financial aid through the scholarship fund, he understands that not all students are as fortunate.

"It's my hope that through this auction, more children throughout the Lehigh Valley will have the opportunity to further their advancement in the arts," he says. "I'm simply continuing what Fowler started."

"The efforts of these teens are truly inspiring," Slattery Fugate says, while shedding a tear. "They are definitely continuing Linny's legacy, which was one of compassion for your neighbor, encouragement of creativity and above all, love. She was truly an angel."

1
Text Only
Education

Education