- Grove City, Pennsylvania

May 3, 2013

Pause to notice positivity, art

By Felicia A. Petro/Senior Reporter
Allied News

GROVE CITY — "Tea Pot" and "Industrial Arts" are the two newest fixtures in Olde Town Grove City.

Art, welding and auto body students celebrated on Friday with a ceremony at the Guthrie Theater for their two newest parking sculptures.

"Tea Pot" is a life-sized collage with tea cup, saucer, utensils and a working watch design that designates parking at the library on South Center Street at College Avenue. "Industrial Art" is a series of train wheels with the rising sun located at the railroad tracks at South Center/Blair streets.

"The town likes them, the kids like building them and we like making them," said Ron Bayuzich, the artist in residence who has worked with the life-sized works of art with GJR students since the parking sculpture program began three years ago.

Austin Baranauskas, 18, and Danton McKenzie, 19, represented students in the welding program at GJR who were part of the team that helped make this year's sculptures.

The two were grateful for their experience, especially in solidifying their desire to continue welding as a future career.

"This gave me an opportunity to put work into my life and acquire skill I never had," Baranauskas said. Both he and McKenzie grew up in the rough neighborhood of North Philadelphia, where "not many kids even go to school," he said.

"This was the fun-est experience ever," McKenzie added. "I learned hard work, team work, problem solving and dedication. I'll see you next year."

State Rep. Dick Stevenson believed the sculptures were another testimony to Grove City, which thrives amid a difficult national economy because of how much its residents give.

"Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time," Stevenson added.

Council member Mary Kay Mattocks told the GJR students who attended that their contributions to the sculptures have been "a true honor" in making Grove City special.

Superintendent Dr. Richard Mextorf encouraged people to take time with the sculptures; looking at the colors, shapes and place in the environment. "You will be affected and affected profoundly," he said.

He told the GJR students that he was proud to be their superintendent.

"You added a little piece of humanity to our town and, in this day and age, we need all the humanity we can get," Mextorf said.

Carol McCullon presented a check from Wesley Grange for next year's sculptures, and commended the GJR students for their creativity. Students are faithful, hard-working volunteers each year during the grange's buckwheat pancake suppers, and the grange wanted to give back, she said.

"We need you in our community and we need to support you."

The sculpture project will cap off at 10 pieces; two sculptures are done each year. There are now six sculptures.

"In Philly, they don't do things like this for us," McKenzie said, who was happy with the results of the sculptures.  "When you come to a positive place, you can't help but do positive things."

Published April 17, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.