May 17, 2019 News Release

Southern Fulton High School Students’ Artwork Unveiled at Sideling Hill Turnpike Service Plaza

Southern Fulton High School Students’ Artwork Unveiled at Sideling Hill Turnpike Service Plaza

Waterfall, PA — Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC) CEO Mark Compton Pennsylvania and Council on the Arts (PCA) Executive Director Karl Blischke unveiled artwork today at Sideling Hill Turnpike Service Plaza. Southern Fulton High School students designed and created the installation. The project is part of Art Sparks, a PTC and PCA partnership that brings student-created artwork to service plazas across the PTC’s 550-mile system.

“This project was quite an undertaking for all of you,” said PTC CEO Mark Compton addressing the students in attendance. “We have watched your diligent work with great admiration over the course of this project. As you know, one of the goals of the Art Sparks program is to tie the Turnpike to our neighboring regions. Today we see the masterly and inventive way you have accomplished that and showcased your region.”

Titled “Our Life. Our Story,” the installation features an intricate collage of photographs taken from around the region by Southern Fulton High School art students, juxtaposed with historic images from the Turnpike’s 75th anniversary publication, “The Pennsylvania Turnpike Moments in Motion.” A ‘roadway’ also winds through the piece, representing the Turnpike, composed of Polaroid photos taken throughout the project. The collage nests within a metal framework shaped to represent the outline of Pennsylvania, fabricated by Fulton County Area Vocational Technical School (AVTS) welding students. The finished piece is now permanently installed inside the service plaza for visitors to enjoy.

Working in coordination with the PCA’s regional Arts in Education partner and the York County Cultural Alliance, Southern Fulton High School art students and Fulton County AVTS welding students were mentored by teaching artist and professional photographer, Dorie Heyer, Southern Fulton High School art teacher, Carolyn Mottern, and Fulton County AVTS welding teacher, Bruce Shipley, to design and create the artwork.

This is the seventh project created through Art Sparks. The unveiling event drew individuals from the community to help celebrate, including students, families and local and state officials.

“The blending of photography, welding and design evidenced in this finished artwork is an excellent example of the broad forms that art and creativity can take in Pennsylvania’s classrooms,” said Karl Blischke, PCA executive director. “Skills acquired on projects like this, and on all the Art Sparks projects to-date, help students succeed in school and build the talent pipeline of innovators who may eventually play critical roles in the creative workforce.”

“Art brings creativity to the classroom,” explained Carolyn Mottern. “Our art students have learned so much in the design, execution and collaboration involved in this project. But interestingly enough, I was also able to experience first-hand the interest Turnpike travelers have in learning about Fulton County when a plaza visitor from Arizona stopped to ask me questions about what they were seeing here. The students are thrilled that their work will have this range of impact on so many.”          

“Working with other students and learning about them and their own artistic style was very rewarding and will have a lasting impact on our school and our community,” said Riley Francis, Southern Fulton County High School senior. “As people see ‘Our Life. Our Story,’ I am hopeful they will be left with a small understanding about the people who live within the neighboring communities – and perhaps even see something that they were not expecting.”

Art Sparks pairs K-12 art students and teaching artists from the PCA’s Arts in Education resident artist roster with the goal to install a local, student-created artwork in every service plaza, system-wide, over the next five-to-eight years. Schools near each respective service plaza host 20-day residencies led by a local PCA teaching artist. Students work with the artist and members of the community to create artwork that reflects the region.

Rosanne Placey, PA Turnpike, 717-831-7507
Norah Johnson, PA Council on the Arts, 717-585-4713