With a circular grinder in hand and a big smile on her face, Althoff Catholic High School senior Marly Silvestri made impressions on a piece of a metal for a sculpture to be unveiled at the Art on the Square festival next month in Belleville.
"It's been really fun and neat learning how to make the shapes into a 3D sculpture," Marly said.
Marly and nine other art students at Althoff are working collaboratively with O'Fallon artist Kevin Trobaugh to design and create the sculpture as part of Art on the Square's High School Sculpture in the City Program.
Trobaugh said the sculpture will be a hanging mobile composed of 20 pieces balanced on metal rods and connected with stainless steel cables. The individual components of the sculpture will be vibrant colors, he said, including blue, red, green, purple and gold.
"It will be pretty bright," Trobaugh said.
Trobaugh worked with Althoff students on the sculpture Wednesday morning before school. He helped the students draw designs on pieces of aluminum metal. Then they cut out their designs, which required a bit of muscle power.
Althoff senior Matt Woesthaus, the son of art teacher Dave Woesthaus, jumped at the chance to cut out the pieces. "All my art work has been two-dimensional, and it's interesting to work in three-dimensional," Matt said. "I'm really glad to be working with him (Trobaugh)."
Dave Woesthaus said he appreciates the opportunity for his art students to work on a large sculpture piece. "It's magnificent they get to see big scale stuff," he said.
Senior Shelby Biermann is enjoying the project. "It's a new thing since we don't do this kind of thing at Althoff," she said. "It's really different, and I like it."
Once all the pieces are cut out and textured with the circular grinder, Trobaugh said he will work with the pieces in his studio with an English wheel, a metal forming tool, to put curves into the metal.
The next step, he said, will be to add color to the pieces with a clear architect lacquer dyed with various tints. "When you put the color on, the depth comes out," Trobaugh said.
The finished sculpture will be unveiled at the Art on the Square VIP Reception Party on opening night May 17. Following the three-day festival, the sculpture will be installed at Althoff in the Heritage Hall.
"It's a great legacy they get to have as part of the family of the school," Dave Woesthaus said.
For the third consecutive year the law firm of Mathis, Marifian & Richter, Ltd. is sponsoring the High School Sculpture in the City Program. As part of this program, Trobaugh worked with students at Belleville East High School to create a sculpture last year and at Belleville West High School in 2011.
"It's a good opportunity to give back," said Pat Mathis, shareholder at MM&R. "It's been rewarding for us."
"It's always fun working with kids," Trobaugh said. "Hopefully, it will carry on and branch out to more schools."
More information about the High School Sculpture in the City Program is available at www.artonthesquare.com. Area residents also can follow the progress of the program on Facebook at High School Sculpture in the City Program.
Contact reporter Jamie Forsythe at 618-239-2562 or firstname.lastname@example.org.