Student artwork creates “Community Connections”

by Michele Collins

Shoppers, diners and visitors to businesses in Northfield and Macedonia will be treated to the beauty of local artwork, done by the hands of Nordonia Hills City Schools’ art students.
According to Danielle Miller, art teacher for grades K-4 at Northfield Elementary, the idea for sharing her student’s artwork came from the joy she felt in sharing her own artwork as a student and later in a gallery.
“We had such beautiful artwork from our students, we just thought it should be shared with the community,” said Miller.
She created a program called “Community Connections,” which places the student artwork, matted and framed by Miller and other Nordonia art teachers, in the buildings of local businesses and organizations.
Miller and the Nordonia elementary, middle and high school art teachers coordinate the program, which was funded through school foundation grants.
“Our goal is to build a bridge between the Nordonia artists and the community,” said Miller, adding that the program is starting small, but has already received a positive response.
“The businesses have been so kind and they are so excited to receive the artwork,” she said. “Some have even asked if they can donate frames to the program.”
Grant money is currently being used to buy the frames, but eventually the group will need to buy its own frames. Miller said most of the local businesses have received smaller pieces, in traditional size frames like 8-by-10 inch or 12-by-16 inch.
Local business Crossroads Chiropractic, however, received a much larger piece made by one of the high school art students.
“I walked into their office and saw the large piece displayed so beautifully, and the owners told me they just love it, that it changes the whole space,” said Miller.
Another group who loves the location of the artwork is the art students themselves.
“I have had students tell me they are going to go to the locations where their artwork is being displayed,” she said. “They want to be sure the businesses know who created the work.”

According to Superintendent Dr. Joe Clark, some of the businesses that are showcasing art include Macedonia Fire Department, Macedonia Police Department, Summit County Animal Hospital and Macedonia Rec Center.
Each piece of artwork contains a small label with the student artist’s name and school.
“I want the students to know that their work is valued,” said Miller. “I actually have a hard time choosing which pieces to use, but I look at them for the hard work the students put into them, the effort they have made, and select those pieces that showcase that.”
As the school year winds down, Miller and her students will be focusing on year-end activities and artwork. But come next school year, she hopes to expand the community art program.
“The response has been so great, and we keep getting more businesses who want to display the art, that I think it will be even better next school year,” she said. ∞

Artwork by Ledgeview Elementary students
hangs in Amigos Taqueria restaurant
in Stow. Photo submitted.