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Baseline Middle School Banner at the South Haven Center for the Arts

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!

Lauren Bartlett

Hayden Beatty-Gonzalez

Jonathon Bevevino

Bryan Bevevino

Erin Bos

Keira Brush

Brenda Calderon

Addison DeKoning

Madi Dibble

Bryson Distefano

Madi Dotson

Wyatt Dotson

Elizabeth Fisher

Gabby Gamino

Yaribeth Garcia

Charlotte Grzybowski

Cordia Henderson

Ethan Hodge

Pru Hosier

Makaiyah Jeries

Bradly Keen

Summer Leadingham

Ian Montgomery

Cara Murphy

Hannah Pastrick

Sasha Ransom

Roxy Ryan

Serenity Scully

Stella Sutton

Molly Verseput

Photo courtesy of Tom Renner

Press release by Nancy Albright

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