Community Bench: Bald Eagle Area- Student Perspectives
Artists: Rosemarie Cox and Students
Location: State Bald Eagle High School, 751 S. Eagle Valley Road, Wingate, PA 16823
The BEA bench celebrates the tradition of giving and service, and the love of land, labor, and country that are an integral part of the fiber of our BEA community. Each part of the bench represents a story that was shared in the classroom and community brainstorming sessions, emphasizing how the level of giving and service strengthens and warms those who work and dwell in this beautiful region. Residents share their time, talent, money, harvest, possessions, homes, and vehicles, often anonymously or with no expectation for reciprocation. They rally around families met with hardship and volunteer for service in the school and community. Many are veterans or active service members. Family is celebrated. From the depiction of planting, to early emergent corn, to harvest, the “cats cradle” in the nook of the bench, and the inclusion of the quote from Albert Pike; the essence of the bench is one of living and celebrating life’s fleeting moments with a purpose of service and community.
As an artist and educator, I have considered facilitating collaborative art experiences for almost two decades. I wanted to provide my students and their families with an opportunity to share their stories of sharing and service and to celebrate their giving character…to continue the tradition of giving and strengthen the fibers of community that are so important in our district. I also wanted the student and community “voice” to steer the project as much as possible. It has been a very rewarding and enriching experience and gives me courage to consider collaborative projects for the future.
About the Artists:
Rosemarie Cox and Students Over 200 individuals painted this bench. The youngest were two and three year-olds whose paint-covered fingers made the first marks on the back of the bench. Students in Art Club, Color and Design, Art 8, and a few intergenerational “pairs” took turns painting the bench. Rosemarie W. Cox served as facilitator for the design and creation of the bench. Rosemarie lives in Milesburg and is an Art Teacher at Bald Eagle Area Middle and High School. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Art Education at Penn State and her Master of Arts in Art Education at Boston University.