West Hartford artist Stefanie Marco Lantz of Kindspin Design worked with students at all grade levels on the project.
By Ronni Newton
Artist Stefanie Marco Lantz specializes in creating “funky one-of-a-kind art,” and she has brought her unique style and love of using bright colors and found objects to the lobby of West Hartford’s Whiting Lane School where she worked with 24 students, representing grades 1-5, on a collaborative project that will be a permanent fixture in the school’s lobby.
The project was completed this past week.
Marco Lantz, whose two children attend Whiting Lane, did much of the prep work. She started with an old bulletin board, and the project – entitled “Whiting Lane students will inspire the world” – evolved from there. The name of the project titles a cassette tape which flies from the top right corner of the piece.
Marco Lantz painted the background for the students’ artwork with an image of a hillside and an arrow in the sky pointing to Earth.
The word “inspire” was cut out of wood – another one of Marco Lantz’s artistic talents, and the definition of “inspire” is stamped on the hillside.
The other objects that form part of the mixed-media installation include records and CDs painted with the students’ creative images of peace signs.
“The records represented different landscapes from around the world and one from the universe,” Marco Lantz said. Some of the students worked on the painting the CDs and records, while other students painted the wood cut-out of the word “inspire” in warm tones, Marco Lantz said.
“The project was amazing and Stefanie is a delight to work with. It was such a wonderful experience for our students,” said Whiting Lane teacher Heather Bushnell, who serves as the advisor to the student council and knew Marco Lantz through her children and her business, Kindspin Design.
This is Marco Lantz’s second collaborative project with the Whiting Lane student council. Last year she worked with students on a large piece that features owls set against a backdrop of trees. They painted owls, made of wood, also incorporate found objects such as washers, keys, buttons, and rulers.
“It’s very fulfilling to see the kids enjoying the process and also pretty awesome to hear the feedback from the students walking by during the school day while I’m painting the backdrop. They are so positive and inspiring, they ask lots of questions, several stated they wanted to be artists when they grow up, and one class gave me a round of applause,” Marco Lantz said.
“I feel like them experiencing the the whole evolution of the piece, from the brainstorm idea through the process, is just as important as seeing it in completion,” Marco Lantz said.
Both pieces of art are permanent fixtures in the Whiting Lane School lobby.
Marco Lantz has done collaborative projects with other groups of children in the past, at Cobb School and Quaker Lane Cooperative. For examples of some of her projects, there’s an album to view on Kindspin’s Facebook page.
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