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Eagle Crest Students Celebrate Famous Artist's Birthday with Honorary Gallery

Whipping up colorful creations that look good enough to eat, students at one Holland-area school recently created an honorary art gallery to mark the 100th birthday of a famous American artist. Over the year thus far, students at Eagle Crest Charter Academy came together to create an art gallery with 365 pieces of art to honor Wayne Thiebaud, an American artist who is well-known for his artwork featuring pies, cakes, and baked goods.

Thiebaud recently celebrated a milestone birthday, turning 100 years old on Nov. 15. To join in his birthday celebration, students at Eagle Crest took inspiration from the beloved artist and created their own versions in his vivid and popular style.

“His artwork inspired us,” said Tracy Conley, art teacher at Eagle Crest. “His artwork is uplifting, funny, and brings joy and happiness to his viewers, so that’s exactly what I hope happens here at Eagle Crest.”

Thiebaud’s work has been described by art enthusiasts as “Celebrating the JOY of living!” and in today’s difficult climate, that’s just what we all need! Being mindful of the environment, the students’ art was created on recyclable cardboard material from the school’s lunch program.

All Eagle Crest students learned about Mr. Thiebaud throughout the school year and enjoyed being part of his birthday celebration. Each grade level created its own unique paintings based on his art.

To keep the creations grade-skill appropriate, Conley selected different foods for each grade to try their hand on. Young fives students created cookie artwork, kindergarteners created donut artwork, first-graders created ice cream cone art, second-grade students created artwork featuring cake pops and lollipops.

“My original idea was to bring laughter and joy to our staff, students, and community because that’s how his artwork is described by gallery owners,” said Conley. “I want parents to see photos of their child’s artwork and know they are OK inside our building.”

The older grades' artwork became more complex and detailed. Third-grade students created lemon meringue pie artwork, fourth-grade graders created pumpkin pie art, fifth-grader created caramel apple art, sixth-graders created gumball machine artwork, and seventh- and eighth-grade students created pieces featuring cakes and pies.

“It started small, but I am hoping everyone here is amazed by these paintings,” said Conley. “I still can’t believe my students created some of these masterpieces.”