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Student, staff artwork gets home in Harrisburg

| Thursday, Nov. 6, 2003

A larger-than-life work of art created by Chartiers Valley students and school staff members will be on permanent display at the state Department of Education building in Harrisburg.

Nina Giordano, an art teacher at Chartiers Valley Primary School, used her pickup truck to haul "Grouper" to Harrisburg last week. The fish sculpture measures 11 feet by 6 feet, and will be part of the department's new art collection.

"Grouper" is made from aluminum and chicken wire. Each hole in the chicken wire is filled with a flat, wooden miniature disk -- and there are 1,200 in all, painted by about 750 students and 50 faculty and support staff workers.

"I wanted to create the contemporary piece of art so that it could be a piece that the entire community -- from students to janitors -- could work on," Giordano said.

Education department spokeswoman Cara O'Donnell said schools from across the state have been invited to submit art pieces to be displayed in offices and meeting rooms throughout the 19-floor building.

"It's part of state Education Secretary Vicki Phillips' vision to not only give students the opportunity to showcase their work, but to also serve as a reminder to department employees here who we are ultimately serving," O'Donnell said.

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