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Ohio Northern art education graduate helps bring attention to kids as important part of a community’s life

March—On a bright Sunday afternoon, about half a dozen kids gathered inside of the Whiteface Mountain lodge in Lake Placid, New York, to see their fish-shaped pieces of plywood come together to form a work of art. Eventually, the fish were assembled to create a new mural, displayed in the lower tunnel of the ski lodge.

Nearly a hundred brightly painted fish now adorn the walls of the tunnel that goes through the base lodge. Conceived by kids from the Wilmington Youth Center, some of the fish were painted by students of Anne Rickard (BA/art education ’82). The fish have been installed to create a colorful mural celebrating the West Branch of the Ausable River that flows past the ski center.

This is the second artistic collaboration between the Ski Center, Lake Placid/ Wilmington Connecting Youth and Communities Coalition (CYC), and the youth of the region. The new mural is located across from Seasons, a mural of 80 tumbling leaves and snowflakes that celebrates the four seasons and reminds visitors that Whiteface is a four-season resort.

“Whiteface is a great mountain and community asset,” said Randy Preston, Wilmington Town Supervisor. “I love to ski there. It is located next to one of the best fishing rivers in the east. Indeed from opening day to the close of the fishing season many anglers use their parking lots as it provides easy access to this magnificent river. Our kids proposed highlighting that local asset. We thought it was a great idea and could not be more pleased with the results. Our local kids have a lot of talent. We are proud of the work they did and appreciate the ski center's support.”

“Our goal is to reduce the use of tobacco, alcohol and other drugs by youth,” said Anne, the art teacher at the Lake Placid Middle School. “We know the best way to do that is to create a positive and reaffirming environment for youth and as part of that, to strengthen their connection to the community. Literally thousands of people each year get to see just how talented our students are. The students who painted these fish, and those who painted the leaves in the other mural, are proud of what they accomplished as are their parents. It says to them, ‘You matter,’ and they do.”

The mural “Ausable” was developed under the auspices of Lake Placid-Wilmington CYC in partnership with the Whiteface Mountain Ski Center, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, and the Town of Wilmington. Artist Naj Wikoff coordinated both projects cutting out leaf and fish designs supplied by the WYC kids, prepping the forms, and later installing the artistic output on the two walls. The Charles Wood Foundation provided funding towards the Ausable mural.

The Lake Placid/Wilmington Connecting Youth and Communities (CYC) Coalition is a youth development organization of local community leaders, youth, parents, and government and business partners who work together for the health and well-being of our youth.

Anne has taught art courses for the past 25 years in the Lake Placid school district. She teaches a variety of courses including drawing, painting, advanced placement art drawing, studio in art and eighth grade art. In 2008, she was honored by the New York State Art Teachers Association (NYSATA) as their Art Teacher of the Year. In 2007, Anne was honored as regional art teacher of the year and qualified for consideration as the year’s state teacher of the year honors. She also has displayed her work in regional and state exhibitions and has spoken at several events including the NYSATA annual conference.

Anne earned her bachelors degree from Ohio Northern University and then received her master’s degree from Plattsburgh State. Recently, she had an art educator’s fellowship with Maine College of Art in Portland to study drawing and painting. She’s also attended the School of Art Institute of Chicago and the Kansas City Art Institute.

The art education major at Ohio Northern is an intensive full-time teacher preparation program that enables students to earn a PreK-12 licensure as a teacher. ONU’s program is designed to prepare its candidates to be not only accomplished art educators, but also articulate advocates for the role of art in PreK-12 education. The curriculum involves partnerships with public schools and is designed so that students come to understand educational theory through personal experience in authentic teaching situations. For instance, students at Ohio Northern plan and teach a group of middle school students participating in the Saturday Morning Arts (SMArts) program. Also, ONU teacher candidates complete 12 weeks of student teaching experiences in an elementary public school and in a secondary public school.

Originally designated as the School of Fine Arts and later the College of Fine Arts, the art & design program was first established as an independent academic unit at Ohio Northern in 1878, largely as an outgrowth of course work in engineering and architectural drawing. Today, Ohio Northern offers both the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Fine Arts degrees with majors in advertising design, art education, graphic design and studio arts with concentrations in two-dimensional, three-dimensional and pre-art therapy. The department of A&D holds memberships in national organizations such as the National Art Education Association, College Art Association, Foundations in Art: Theory and Education, AIGA: The Professional Association for Design, and the National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts. The department is recognized in the “Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers” as one of the best creative programs nationwide. For additional information about the department of art & design or the University’s 2014–15 Arts Exhibition Season, contact the department at 419.772.2160.