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TAHS art students display talents in downtown business windows in tune with the holidays

The Borough of Tyrone recently partnered with the Tyrone Area High School Art Department in an effort to decorate some of the downtown storefronts for the holiday season. TAHS students from Mr. Eric Feather’s Art Studio class began decorating windows Tuesday and will finish their artistic expressions later today.
This year the art students are decorating the windows of Joshua House, Tyrone Chamber of Commerce, Tyrone Electronics, I-99 Antiques and the vacant News Agency storefront. JoyBeans may also get a brush of holiday spirit if time permits.
The idea to decorate the downtown business by the art students at TAHS came from Tyrone Mayor James Kilmartin, who approached TAHS Principal Tom Yoder, who then met with Feather’s, who immediately jumped on board with the tremendous opportunity for his students.
“I thought it was a great idea,” said Feather. “It takes a good amount of planning and we hope it will continue to build and improve as the years go on, and better the number of businesses that we do.”
He added, “I think it’s positive both for the students and for the members of the community. For the students, I think what they get is a sense of appreciation from the positive comments they’ll receive from their designs. They get an opportunity to use their skills and talents in a way that’s beneficial to the community at large.”
“I also think it gets the students at a time of year when they’re excited about the holiday season, and this is a way for them to express it and enjoy it. I think the community wins because it showcases the talents of our youth, it helps them appreciate the school, and not only the things we do as teachers, but the things their students are doing at school with their talents,” said Feather.
The idea for the seasonal window designs downtown came a bit late in the year, so the students were limited in time to how many storefronts they could decorate. Next year, the project hopes to be completed before the annual Christmas parade downtown. Regardless, the TAHS principal hopes to continue the event and draw more interest.
“I’d like to see it become an annual event,” said Yoder. “Next year I would hope to do this either late November or early December, and maybe we can get more merchants, landowners and storefront owners involved so we can do maybe 10 or 12 windows.”
Yoder said that it’s always good to build strong ties with the community and school district, and this is an opportunity to showcase the students work and also make the downtown look even nicer during the holiday season. Even the storefronts that are vacant can get a touch of holiday spirit to spruce up the downtown appearance.
“Mr. Feather has some very talented kids and they planned all of this out in class, making templates or drawings, getting the paints together and organizing the whole thing. They’re doing a great job and I think when people see their artwork they’ll be very impressed,” added Yoder.
One such student participating in the window decorating is Morgan Thompson. She is a senior at TAHS and will be attending the Art Institute of Pittsburgh next year to further her artistic talents.
“We enjoy doing this because we all enjoy doing art and it’s something for everyone to see what we can do,” said Morgan. “It helps make the town more beautiful during the holiday season.”
Tyrone’s mayor said the school district’s very interested in getting involved in the community, and getting students involved in the community. He said that the art class is working on the project from the art aspect of things, but another group of students came in and cleaned all the windows prior to the artwork.
“I think it’s just great,” said Kilmartin. “It’s good to see the school district work with the community. The students can take pride in this and show their family and friends what they did downtown – it’s a great opportunity.”
The event, all in all, unifies the community with the school, and with the youth. It gives everyone a reciprocal appreciation for each other. All the designs that will be featured on the windows are strictly student created designs, rather than copies of an already created design. It really shows the enthusiasm and talent of the TAHS art students, especially with the limited time the class had to prepare their displays. The students created their designs in just two days.
“I’m intensely proud of the students,” said Feather. “They’re all exceptionally gifted and talented in their own artwork, but I’m also particularly proud of this project simply because they put their talents to use in a very short amount of time for the sole purpose of doing something good for the community.”
He added, “It’s a real selfless kind of thing they’re involved in right now, so with that I’m very proud of what they’re doing.”