The students and staff at Errick Road Elementary School in Niagara-Wheatfield have added a new work of art to their courtyard. It is the third sculpture unveiling at the school under the direction of art teacher Tracy Bloom. It is titled the "Tower of Tales," and each of its 60 ceramic tiles represents a folktale, fairytale, tall tale or fable.
It was officially unveiled during the art show at the school on May 21 in front of the students and their families, with several students explaining the difference in the stories that served as inspiration.
Bloom said that when thinking of the theme of this year's masterpiece, she met with the third-grade team to talk about how art could connect with the English Language Arts curriculum.
"We usually work with the science curriculum, so we thought this might be a nice change," Bloom said. "The students are working on different stories including fables, folktales, fairytales and tall tales, so we asked each of the students to pick a story as their inspiration and choose someone to work with on the project. They already had basic clay rolling skills. The students made a tile and we critiqued each other's work, and if it passed, we fired and glazed it and prepared it for the sculpture."
The base of the sculpture was a hexagon, and local artist Mike Murawski created the steel elements for the structure to place the tiles on. Bloom asked members of the school and community if they wanted to contribute to the piece as well. Several staff members stepped forward and one of the parents, Cathi Sitzman, made the flags that flew from the castle tower.
"Everyone took this task very seriously," Bloom said. "To me, the best thing about it is that the third-graders worked well together, and it gives the students a chance to leave their mark on the school. I think it really showed them that they can do more together than alone."