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Indian Lake students pick up the brush of Michelangelo, create non-traditional art projects

INDIAN LAKE - Three juniors at Indian Lake Central School (ILCS) now have a unique appreciation of how Michelangelo felt while trapped under a ceiling in Rome.

Over the past four weeks, Lauren Arsenault's art students have been studying the Renaissance in Art History. As one of their projects, she asked them to replicate a panel of the Sistine Chapel while painting upside-down, just like Michelangelo did.

"I thought she was crazy," said Megan Miller.

Despite apprehension, however, Miller joined fellow students Zakari LeBlanc and Shawnna Myers as they laid on step-stools underneath their desks and began to paint.

"Students in this class never do a lot of book work," said Arsenault, a third-year teacher at ILCS. "They learn this material best by doing and working hands-on."

"I was excited at first and then it started to hurt," said Myers.

After the first session, students complained of arm cramps and rubbed the bruises on their backs. They returned, however, for 40 minute sessions each day for the following month.

Despite obvious discomfort, however, the students thrived on doing like Michelangelo did.

"It was really cool, because we were doing this the same way that he did it," said LeBlanc.

Choosing a panel to replicate turned out to be the easy part in this project. Arsenault said that they chose panels that represented images they appreciated, stories they recognized from the Bible and people they were eager to recreate.

"I chose my panel because I liked the woman's dress," said Miller as she showed off her colorful representation of a woman in a flowing gown.

Upon picking their panel, the students laid down under their desks to sketch in pencil and then paint their pieces.

"I am very pleased with their adaptations," said Arsenault. "They really got into the spirit of the project and the results speak for themselves.

The Sistine Chapel replicas will adorn the halls of ILCS in the weeks to come and will make for good stories as well.

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