Baseline Middle School students, led by their art teacher Sarah Rydecki, have created a
banner that is now part of the exterior decoration of the South Haven Center for the Arts.
This collaborative work expresses unity, diversity, and the power of the visual arts.
When school closed in March, Mrs. Rydecki posted an art project through the district website
asking her art students to decorate the shapes of hands. Thirty artists worked on the project at
home and turned in the assignment when they came to school to clean out their lockers for
the school year.
“The original idea was not to create a banner,” explained Mrs. Rydecki. The kids were all set
to paint flowers cut out of plywood to decorate the lawn in front of City Hall as part of the
project created by the art center for the 2020 Frida Kahlo exhibition.“ It came to me organically that these hands could symbolize coming together and reaching out to help others even though they were no longer together each day at school.”
Mrs. Rydecki gave the kids complete freedom to take the project in whatever direction they wanted. One of her African American students asked if she could write Black Lives Matter on her piece of art. “It is more than appropriate; it’s necessary, it’s important to symbolize peace and love,” said Rydecki.
You can see that hand, and the work of all thirty student artists, collage-style, on the north face of the South Haven Center for the Arts at 600 Phoenix St., South Haven. Mrs. Rydecki is very proud of her students for sharing their talent with the community, and showing how they persevered with their studies through this spring's school closure.
Thank you to all Baseline Middle School participating artists and Mrs. Rydecki!
Photo courtesy of Tom Renner
Press release by Nancy Albright