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Artists bring history to canvas

TICONDEROGA Explosions, flames, smoke, confusion, cries for help. Brittani Boyle can imagine what it was like during the French and Indian War and soon people can see her interpretation of events at Fort Ticonderoga. Boyle is part of the eighth grade class at St. Marys School in Ticonderoga that is painting scenes from that war as part of an inter-disciplinary project. I love it a lot, Boyle, a Crown Point resident, said of the project. I love painting and I like to imagine what it must have been like during the French and Indian War. The project combines social studies, art and English. Students had to research a historical event, paint a depiction and then write journal entries, letters and poems about their topic. The work can be fictional, but it must be be based on historically-accurate events, explained Lori Fox, social studies teacher. Students did a lot of research at Fort Ticonderoga and developed their ideas, Fox said. They had to come up with a scenario thats likely to have been true during the French and Indian War. Fox credited Rich Strum, Chris Fox and Mark Trudeau of Fort Ti with assisting the St. Marys class. Students started the project in January. Their final work will be on exhibit at the new Mars Education Center at Fort Ti July 3 and 4 as the fort marks the 250th anniversary of the French and Indian War. This is an opportunity and experience these kids wouldnt get through their regular curriculum, Lori Fox said. To tie all this together with a significant local history event was too good to pass up. Lisa Adamson, St. Marys art teacher, agreed. I feel as if I know so much more about the French and Indian War than I did before we started this project, Adamson said. Its been a great experience for the students and me. Its really helped build the confidence of the students and given them a vehicle for their art, she added. The kids will never forget this. Jessica Gipson, a St. Marys student from Bridport, Vt., said the project combines two of her favorite subjects, art and history. Its fun, she said. I get to learn how to paint and Ive learned a lot more about the French and Indian War. The project has become so big it left the school. Students are now working from the St. Marys Art Studio on Montcalm Street, a a formerly vacant storefront owned by Carrie Reale. We were using my classroom, Fox said. Every day wed have to spend time getting out all the materials and picking them after every class. We just didnt have enough room. Mrs. Reale saw what were doing and offered this space. The kids love it; they feel as if its their gallery. The project is being funded by the Local Capacity Building Initiative, a local arts in education program that is administered by the Adirondack Arts in Education Partnership. The grant was secured by Maureen Jebb of St. Marys.

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