Tri-Village News

Students' bird paintings land at Audubon Center

Visitors can vote May 10 on best depictions, which will be displayed all summer long


The Grange Insurance Audubon Center's activities for its celebration of International Migratory Bird Day on May 10 will include an exhibit of artwork by Bobcats.

Sixth-grade students from Edison Intermediate School and Larson Middle School will display the bird silhouettes they painted as an art class project.

"When I told them their work was going to be displayed at the Audubon Center, you could immediately feel a change in the room," art teacher Chris Sauer said. "We've displayed students' work at school and at the annual Bobcat Art Show at the library, but never outside of the community.

"Everybody's pretty excited about it," he said.

Ninety-three students will display their work for the day, Sauer said.

Visitors to the center May 10 will be asked to cast their vote for their favorite student paintings; the five students who receive the most votes will have their work displayed at the Audubon Center throughout the spring and summer, he said.

"We first did this project during the first semester and we did it again during the second semester, after we knew we'd be participating in the Audubon Center's program," Sauer said. "They were that much more engaged in the project."

The opportunity to show Grandview students' work at the Audubon Center came about thanks to sixth-grade social studies teacher Cheri Brown.

"She played a pivotal role in this all coming together," Sauer said. "She saw the artwork (from the first-semester project) and thought friends she knows at the Audubon Center might enjoy seeing what we were doing in the art room."

Sauer said he had wanted to do a bird-silhouette project since he started teaching in Grandview six years ago. Prior to this year, he taught at Stevenson Elementary School and didn't think the younger students would have the technique needed to create the silhouettes.

"It's been something I've wanted to do, being an amateur bird-watcher myself," he said.

Students could choose only birds that are native to Ohio as their subjects, using a website that lists birds by state, Sauer said.

"I thought we'd see a lot of backyard birds like cardinals and robins, but the choices ran the gamut," he said. "A lot of students picked shore birds or birds they had never heard of before they found them on the website."

Initially, students were instructed to depict the birds on a branch, but many chose to show the birds in flight, Sauer said.

Using watercolors, students also chose a variety of hues for the sky, showing everything from dawn to dusk, sunrise to sundown and cloud-covered skies, he said.

"Very few decided to show a simple blue sky," Sauer said.

The silhouette project "was a nice way to get them working in realism without having to get bogged down in all the details" of a bird's body, he said.

The Grange Insurance Audubon Center is located inside of Scioto Audubon Metro Park at 505 W. Whittier St. in downtown Columbus. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 10.