Art Club students at Lincoln-Way North High School put their artistic skills to good use recently, making stage props for a holiday program at the Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School in Tinley Park.
“It’s been a lot of fun for everybody,” said Lincoln-Way North art teacher and Art Club sponsor Anne Zmuda who oversaw the project.
More than a dozen students were involved in the project and stayed after school to complete it.
They were invited to make the therapeutic school’s stage more festive by Easter Seals Art Therapist Holly DeRosa and Program Manger Maryellen Bucci, who reached out to the school for help.
“This is a great way for our students to connect with (other) students and for those students to work with students with disabilities,” said DeRosa. “We thought it would be a great exchange.”
North’s Art Club members met with two students from Easter Seals on a couple of occasions and brainstormed ideas with their teachers. They decided to make large ornaments from cardboard and decorate each one with a holiday theme.
One ornament, for example, depicts a snowman. Another displays a reindeer. A third shows a cup of hot cocoa and a plate of chocolate chip cookies.
“I’m excited to see our work (on stage),” said Lincoln-Way North senior Vanessa Casimiro who designed the ornament with a steamy cup of hot cocoa.
Seniors Jake Ives and Maeryl Timola took the lead on the project, designing the largest ornaments, which incorporated the show’s theme “Celebration in the City.”
Both had some set design experience as they have worked on school plays and musicals in the past.
When time was running out to make the ornaments, Jake and Maeryl took it upon themselves to finish the props at home.
“We’re going to make these really good,” Jake remembers telling Maeryl.
“It’s very special to me because of the nature of the students,” he explained. “It was cool to see how art has influenced them.”
The students, along with classmates Brianna Richards and Savannah Filkin, travelled to Easter Seals Autism Therapeutic School on Dec. 14 to install the ornaments and to prepare the stage.
They returned to watch the show Dec. 16 along with classmates and fellow Art Club members Kailey Falsey, Dana Mayfield, Vanessa Casimiro, Amanda Augustyniak, Cara Rooney, Sarah Pajeau and Becca Francis.
The set “is going to blow our parents away,” predicted DeRosa.