April 30, 2004 at 9:34 a.m.
Art Instructor Marlene Biondo and Diane Menard of the high school’s guidance/career department, won grants totalling about $13,000 for the projects.
Art bench creation is well underway with Artist in Residence John Acosta working alongside Biondo’s 11th and 12th grade art students creating an over-sized mosaic-on-stucco bench.
Acosta is able to spend time at the high school through an East Central Regional Arts Council $5,000 grant. Ceramic tiles for the mosaic bench were donated by North Suburban Interiors, Acosta said.
Student Luke Balthazor submitted the chosen mosaic design.
Acosta is familiar with Chisago Lakes schools, having visited last year as a guest speaker. He is a Woodbury-based muralist, sculptor and mosaic artsist. (Visit his website www.acostaart.com.)
Acosta is also painting a mural on a bare wall directly behind where the big bench will be situated. He welcomes anyone who wants to help on the mural or just likes to observe. He plans to paint (hopefully) over the next few warm, dry weekends.
Acosta explained that he enjoys being able to teach the arts and he sees great value in what art brings to a well rounded life.
“I could do other things for a living,” he explained, “but art is my passion and it has allowed me to achieve so many things.” Being an artist not only gave him an outlet for a creative voice, but it also boosted his self esteem; he learned how to deal with acceptance and rejection.
Acosta seeks out opportunities to share, especially with youngsters, how art opens doors personally and publicly.
As for the landscaping grant, Menard explained that the 2004 summer enrichment program was thrilled to receive this substantial funding.
From late July to mid-August 10 students will earn credits for participating in the project.
The goal is to instill cooperation, relationship skills, and have the kids practcally apply things like math and writing (journals). Plus they get to be part of a community effort and have an end result they can be proud of that lasts.
Menard mentioned that ag sciences teacher Jeff Lindeman, who also owns Lindstrom Landscaping, is helping with in-kind support such as equipment and facilitating wholesale landstock purchases.
“The fact that the new courtyard will be built adjacent to a large glass wall, and overlooked by the science wing, guidance office and agri-sciences departments-- and the community pool-- will allow this to be a visible display of student achievement and school-to-career partnership,” Menard concluded.