Combining art and history on the Erie Canal is the focus of a project by some students in Rome, NY.

Soft SkillsAt Rome Free Academy, art teacher Amy Van Meter decided to use the theme of the 200th anniversary of the Erie Canal for a student art show. The traveling show will open at the Willett Center and later be at the Community Bank and City Hall.

Van Meter is the art coordinator for the Rome city schools.  She was inspired by the natural beauty and history of the Erie Canal.  In sharing that inspiration, students created paintings and learned the history of the Erie Canal.

“Locally and in Rome we take a lot of pride in the Erie Canal, it’s a rich part of our history,” Van Meter said. “And from an artistic perspective the natural beauty of the canal provides a lens through which the students can get inspired to create art.”

The paintings students created were based on photographs of the canal.  Students were engaged, enjoying the activity.

“I like the concentration art requires,” said student Derek Monahan. “I focused on the details; in my painting, I paid great attention to the foreground details.”

Jessica Smith focused on local history. “I thought it was cool because it’s here in Rome and it’s something we can be proud of,” she said.

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