With a goal to bring art students and local firemen together, Howland Fire Chief James Pantelone and Howland painter Ginny Patchen worked with the art department at the high school to build an ongoing relationship that could eventually involve the community.
''The chief wanted to bring life into the fire station,'' Patchen said.
Patchen said the fire chief approached her about a project that would bring Tiger spirit to the fire station.
Art students at Howland High School worked with local decorative painter Ginny Patchen and the Howland Fire Department to paint a mural on canvas for the fire station. Pictured front row, from left, are Samantha Ensminger and Marauka Santucci. Back row from left are: Nicole Johnson, Mary Draime, Stephanie Macrinos, and Brandon Sekanick.
''I wanted to bring the community in and tell them, we're here for you, we support you and we have Tiger pride,'' Pantalone said.
Patchen began the project by covering the entire back wall of the fire station with tiger stripes with the help of her daughter, Olivia Patchen. To make the project more of a community effort, Patchen enlisted the help of high school art teacher Rich Burnett and high school art students to create a mural on canvas that would hang on the wall on the tiger-striped wall.
''We discussed the size of the canvas and how to get it on the wall,'' Burnett said. ''We discussed what all was going on the canvas and how it was all going to fit.''
Under Burnett's direction, art students Marauka Santucci, Stephanie Macrinos, Brandon Sekanick, Mary Draime, Samantha Ensminger and Nicole Johnson created the five-by-eight-foot canvas at the school.
''Painting on the canvas eliminated painting on the block,'' Burnett said. ''Also the students didn't have to stand on platforms or ladders.''
The mural took about a month to complete and was finished just a few days before the fire department's annual open house on Oct. 13.
According to Patchen, the mural is only part of a larger, progressive project that will not only incorporate younger grades in the school district, but would not only depict township history but would incorporate the firemen's memorial wall as well.
The Board of Education recently approved the formation of an art club that meets after school.
''The students took on the challenge,'' Burnett said. ''We want to promote the arts throughout the community and promote the talents of our high school students.''