McKeesport Area art class goes global to find Santa
McKeesport Area High School's academy art students learned about Christmas and cultural diversity through a sculpting project.
Denise Bollman's senior art class crafted Santas of various nationalities.
Some students took the assignment as a chance to better understand their own culture, while others explored different holiday heritages.
“We've been working on these for six weeks, and they did make the backdrop to display them and also did the research,” Bollman said. “I couldn't be more proud of them. They worked very hard. This is not an easy project. They are hand-selected, top kids.”
Students started with two large snack containers, a balloon and a piece of wire. They added plaster and their own creativity and craftsmanship.
“I love how everyone's sculpture came out,” student Lauryn D'Amico said. “You can see how each person put their personality into it. It was fun getting to work with sculpting.”
Students wrote short descriptions of the ways the cultures their work represents celebrate the holiday.
Lauryn created a male Italian Santa, even though it goes against tradition.
“The Italian Santa Claus isn't a man. It's a woman, and she's a witch,” Lauryn said. “I decided to keep mine as a man because people recognize him as a Santa. Normally, it's a witch who is looking for the Christ child. She is going around to each house looking for him, and she leaves gifts.”
Lauryn's Santa is dressed as a gondolier carrying a piece of pizza.
Katrin Villinger is Scottish and Irish, and went with a Celtic Santa.
“I thought it would be cool to get connected,” Katrin said. “I find that the culture is very interesting, and I wanted to pull that into my Santa Claus. He's wearing a dress with Celtic knots designed on it and a jacket. He's holding a Christmas tree that says ‘Merry Christmas' in Gaelic.”
Dakota Roberts said he created a Hawaiian Santa at random. It features a surfboard, grass skirt, coconut bra and leis.
“I kind of went off my own interpretation of some of the things in their culture, and kind of threw it in with my Santa, trying to make it this big thing that all the other countries have,” Dakota said. “I think it turned out quite swel. We learned different techniques of how to do things, and as you can see each of them had different techniques in how they were made.”
Devan Satterfield said her Santa is French, even though her heritage is mostly German.
“He's wearing a beret, which they mostly wear over there,” Devan said. “I painted the Eiffel Tower on his Christmas ball because Paris is a big part of the French culture. He has the fleur-de-lis embroidered along his jacket. I just like the French culture. I think it's pretty. I think the language is beautiful and I've always wanted to go to Paris.”
Kelly Hinderman said she is part Native American, descended from a tribe in South Dakota, and crafted her Santa in traditional garb of a brown buckskin dress, feathers and a dream catcher.
“The feathers represent the link between the spiritual world and the world of humans,” Kelly said. “They have Christmas trees just like Americans do, except instead of having bulbs and lights, they have mirrors hanging on it so they can reflect over the year that passed and see how they can improve themselves for the next year.
“I really liked this project. I think it was really great. It helped us grow as students and artists.”
Rachel Poturich said she discovered more about her Croatian background while crafting her Santa.
“I'm very involved in my culture, so it just seemed right for me to make one,” she said.
Her Santa wears a traditional red sash and a licitar, a heart-shaped gift.
The Santas will be on display in the high school lobby until Christmas break.
Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965,.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Special events planned as part of Kennywood’s 2015 season
- Mon-Yough communities pick up litter, collect recyclables during Great American Cleanup
- Group strives to preserve memory of SS McKeesport
- No apology coming for Steel Valley teachers
- Elizabeth Forward honors 6 for state Special Olympics medals
- Allegheny County reiterates support for Pangburn Hollow overhaul
- U.S. Steel’s Irvin Plant in West Mifflin to lay off 165 workers
- Mon-Yough Laurels & Lances
- Greenock kids learn 3 R’s of Earth Day
- Old New England Elementary School sale approved by West Mifflin Area board
- Some ONE Homestead housing units almost ready for occupancy