NEW ALBANY — A new sculpture outside Scribner Middle School's performing arts center doesn't just pay tribute to the school's art program — it also showcases the work of a team of student artists.

ArtSeed, a gallery in New Albany, has collaborated with art classes at Scribner Middle School for the past month to create and install an eight-foot-tall sculpture, which is now displayed in a native plant garden outside the school's performance arts center. A $15,000 grant from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County funded the project.

The images in the piece represent a variety of art forms. Abstract figures play musical instruments such as the saxophone and cello. Music notes, theater masks, paint palettes and other artistic symbols are scattered throughout the sculpture.

Art teacher Karen Crawford brought together students from two of her classes to work on the project. The kids were involved in everything from design to cutting the materials for the sculpture.

Receiving the grant was a big deal, she said. She had never taken on such a big project in any of her other classes, and she was excited for the students to have the opportunity to create a publicly-displayed sculpture.

Crawford likes how the sculpture represents both visual and performing arts at the school.

"This is the entrance where they come for all the concerts and plays, so we chose this spot so it would prominently display everybody in the arts," she said.

Students from Scribner's various musical programs, including band, orchestra and choir, modeled for Crawford's art classes with instruments. The students transformed their observations into abstract images.

Julie Schweitzer, owner of ArtSeed, said the live modeling helped inspire the kids' creativity.

"We brought kids in, and they were playing the cello, they were playing their violins and horns. They got the feel of the music ... I think that's why the sculpture isn't so static. It's got a lot of movement."

The project involved teams of students working on aspects such as design, engineering and construction. The students had to make sure that they could get the sculpture out the door and that they could properly secure the piece.

The students created a series of miniature models to work out the design, and they eventually combined individual designs into one piece. They created a life-size cardboard model to work out engineering problems before creating the final sculpture from sheets of recycled PVC material.

"It's more complex than you'd think," Schweitzer said. "Once you get into it, there are a lot of elements that you have to think about."

The students learned to use jigsaw power tools provided by ArtSeed to cut the material for the sculpture. Plant specialists and landscape experts talked to the kids, which helped the students pick out native plants for a garden, which they then planted to surround the sculpture.

Eighth-grader Kaden Bishop said he was involved with many different aspects of the sculpture, including cutting out the material and constructing the piece.

"I think it was fun, because I got to cut it, and I got to learn to use new tools," he said.

Eighth-grader Brindley Herp was involved with the design and construction of the sculpture. It was somewhat nerve-wracking to use the power tools to cut the sculpture, she said, because she didn't want to mess up and restart using the class's limited material.

Herp plays baritone saxophone in Scribner's band program, and her musical experience inspired her while designing the art. She said she enjoyed collaborating with the class to bring the various designs together.

"It was cool, because there were so many different shapes, and the ones that you least expected to be in there were in there and brought into something new," she said. "It was cool seeing what it transformed into ... it's kind of a whole different side of art."

Eighth-grader Genesis Crouse, who is also involved with the Louisville Visual Art, said she enjoyed the creative process of designing the sculpture. She was involved with the design of the cello in the sculpture.

Creating the abstract figures was a challenge, she said, because she typically creates more cartoonish art, but she had fun trying the new style. She was involved in the design of the cello in sculpture.

Crouse said she's excited to see the sculpture in front of the middle school.

"I know it's going to be here for a long time, and it's so cool to have that experience and that option to create something for the school."

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