By CHRIS EBERHART
The Harrison Council for the Arts transformed the municipal building into a student art gallery to kick-off Youth Arts Month.
On March 2, Harrison students like Michael Barletta, a seventh grader at Louis M. Klein Middle School, stood proudly by their artwork before touring the halls to appreciate other students’ work.
Barletta, whose shoe sketch hung on the top floor of the Alfred P. Sulla Municipal Building, said he received a letter inviting him to the arts exhibit but he didn’t realize what it was for.
“I got this invite and wasn’t sure what it was for, but when I came here and saw my drawing, I was like, wow, this is really cool,” Barletta said.
John Grozinger, a former president of the Harrison Council for the Arts before his wife took over the reins, said the students should be proud of the work that’s hanging up.
“Not all the students’ works get picked,” Grozinger said. “So it’s a big deal for these kids.”
After 34 years of this annual event, Doreen Groziner, the president of the Harrison Council for the Arts, said it’s almost on autopilot now. She said the teachers keep this event in mind throughout the school year and earmark certain works to be displayed.
Harrison Avenue School’s art teacher Christine Vitarello said she remembers when her artwork was chosen when she was in the fifth grade and how that recognition began to mold her love for the arts.
“I was in fifth grade when my artwork was chosen to be hung up for the first time, and that’s something I’ll never forget,” Vitarello said. “That’s part of why I became an art teacher. It’s a real achievement to have your work hung up in here, and this is really what art is about.”
Vitarello said she joined up with Purchase art teacher Sarah Palefsky this year to complete a family portraits project in which each student drew their own family portraits.
Harrison Mayor Ron Belmont examined the students’ artwork and said these kinds of events bolster the town’s morale.
“It’s a really wonderful event,” Belmont said. “It’s a Sunday afternoon and moms and grandpas are out. One grandpa told me he came all the way from Manhattan to see his grandchild’s work. It’s a great day for the town.”
The works will continue to hang in the municipal building for the remainder of the month. Grozinger said three or four pieces that are selected by the mayor are framed and included in the permanent art collection.