Encouraging the Arts

Dec. 9-15, 2004
Encouraging the Arts
By Claudia Mathis/ SUN staff writer
SUN photo(s) Paul Finch
Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High Celebrates Opening of Center for Artful Expression

Bishop Ludden Junior/Senior High School celebrated and dedicated its new Center for Artful Expression on Dec. 2. Bishop Ludden is the first high school to add construction to its campus in the history of the Syracuse Diocese. The new fine arts facility was built to house the school’s visual art and music programs. The facility has been well received by art and music students. “The students are enjoying the open space, which allows greater movement within the classroom,” said principal Dennis Meehan. The previous quarters were cramped, but with the addition of the new air-conditioned center, the level of comfort has been maximized.

The evening of celebration began in the cafeteria, which had been decorated for the occasion. White candles glimmered on tables decorated with green and white tablecloths and red poinsettias. A Christmas tree stood in a corner of the cafeteria. The Select Chorus performed for the well-attended dedication. Erlinda Lalone’s daughter Amanda was one of the students performing. Lalone, a 1969 graduate of Bishop Ludden, is impressed with the new addition. “It’s a very nice atmosphere,” said Lalone. The ceremony began with associate principal Mary Lou Connors thanking everyone for attending and for the generosity of the benefactors. She said that Bishop Ludden is proud of the new structure and added that it was created to expand the expression of the students.

Principal Dennis Meehan welcomed everyone to the school and shared some significant facts about the new center. He said that new building is 10,000 square feet. The heating system has been improved by the replacement of a 42-year old boiler with two energy-efficient heating units. Windows have been added, providing good lighting to the classrooms. “I want to acknowledge the teachers and staff who nurture our school,” said Meehan. He then thanked the dedication committee for its effort to make the evening outstanding. Diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools John Cataldo was introduced. He acknowledged the people who have worked hard to pull it all together. “We can never lose sight of our mission to provide the Catholic foundation to our students so they can deal with the life challenges that come to them,” said Cataldo. Bishop Moynihan spoke about the importance of Catholic education. Some schools in the diocese have closed or consolidated and enrollment is increasing. The enrollment at Bishop Ludden in 1989 was 488 students and today it has increased to 815 students. “We need to utilize our resources more efficiently,” said Bishop Moynihan. He thanked everyone involved and then blessed a plaque, and the students, benefactors and all those in attendance. Bishop Moynihan then led everyone in a procession through a darkened hall lit with candles to the new fine arts center. He then blessed each room in the facility. As the tour ended near the last classroom, visitors enjoyed music performed by the Knight Cats Jazz Ensemble Band.

The instrumental room is divided into three practice rooms that accommodate two concert bands and a jazz band. It will easily hold over 110 students. Matt Allison is a tenth grade student and participates in the jazz band. He likes the additional space that the new center provides. “It’s really great,” said Allison. “The large scale of the facility creates a good learning environment. I think it’s a more welcoming space compared to the cramped area that we used to practice in. I feel free to learn.” Eleventh grader Emily Hizer is also a member of the jazz band. She feels that the new area is more comfortable than the previous quarters. “It’s a lot easier for us to play our music,” Hizer said. “It’s very nice.” The vocal music room is a 2,200 square foot facility that will accommodate over 200 students. In an effort to develop the talents of each choral group, tiered platforms and a state-of-the-art sound system have been added.

Each of the three art rooms measures 1,100 square feet to accommodate the demands of art expression which include pencil, chalk, ink, watercolor, acrylic, and textured mediums. The rooms are supplied with excellent storage and clean-up facilities. Also included is a kiln room for the firing of clay projects as well as storage for art supplies and materials. One of the art rooms includes a dark room for film development and a special area for digital photography. Marie Ostrowski, senior art student, enjoys having more open space in the classrooms. She thinks that the new center gives her a better opportunity to create and bring out her full potential. The setting encourages students to play ideas off each other. She is glad that art and music are located in the same area of the school because the creative people are grouped in one wing. “We’re very appreciative and it’s a nice change,” said Ostrowski. Senior Brittany White has been participating in the Advanced Placement Art program for two years. White likes the way that the wing is separate from the rest of the building and that the two art classes share the same storage room. “It’s all together now,” said White. “Everyone likes it very much.” She also enjoys the quality of the light in the art rooms.

After viewing the new art and music classrooms, everyone was invited to enjoy the refreshments in the cafeteria. A video was shown illustrating the construction of the new arts center from start to finish.

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