Colorful acrylic paintings by the 13 students in Renee Bailey’s Drawing and Painting 2 class at Newark High School recently brightened an otherwise stark hallway leading to the Women, Infants and Children Office, 513 W. Union St., Newark.
Members of the class recently unveiled their artwork where it will remain on display indefinitely. The pieces were created with women and children in mind and with the intent to promote healthy choices, role models and imagination for children ages 5 and younger and their parents.
WIC is a food supplement and nutrition education program that serves pregnant and lactating women and their children ages 5 and younger. It provides nutrition education, breastfeeding support and referrals to other support resources in Wayne, Ontario, Seneca, Yates and eastern Monroe counties.
At the invitation of Clarice Lazary, WIC outreach coordinator in Canandaigua, Bailey’s students started the process in March by creating the 18-by-24 inch individual acrylic paintings. It included researching, sketching, presenting their ideas to WIC, reworking them in some instances, creating and finally presenting their finished pieces to WIC.
Some of Bailey’s students, who coincidentally had received services through the Newark WIC program when they were young, drew on memories of their own experiences as inspiration for their paintings.
Sophomore Alisa Shepherd’s painting is of a mother and daughter in which you only see part of the bodies of each, with the daughter informally dressed in denim overalls, a white shirt, striped socks and a pair of her mom’s red high heels. Mom is wearing a dress and red heels.
“When I was born it was just me and my mom, who was 19,” Shepherd said. “I’ve always wanted to be like my mom. I feel like I’m giving something back to a program that helped us a great deal.”
In painting a tranquil lake scene depicting a loving swan couple with their baby, sophomore Morgan Diggins, whose parents are separated, wanted to emphasize the beauty of a happy family.
“There is a whole lot of talent in this class,” Bailey said. “These students work very hard.”
Bailey said several of the students will take Advanced Placement art courses with her next year and have already started working on sequels to the paintings they did for WIC.
Sophomore Bailey McCormick’s painting is of stork flying and carrying a purple satchel filled with fruits and vegetables. Though it was not her original idea but one that evolved, McCormick said most people would expect the stork to be delivering a baby, not fruits and vegetables, so the painting will make people think about the need to make healthy food choices.
The student artists are hoping the paintings will help make visits to the WIC office more interesting and more memorable.
“I was thrilled when Clarice Lazary contacted me about this project,” Bailey said. “The students are always looking to provide community service and this was a perfect fit. They have researched the program and how it impacts families, and have created paintings that engage the audience that will be viewing them.”
Lazary couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
“I was invited into the classroom to view the initial drawings and educate the students about the WIC program so that they can better understand the audience they will be addressing,” she said. “I am so impressed with how professional, engaged and talented the Newark High School students are. The final paintings are even better than I anticipated. I know the women and children we serve at WIC will love them.”
Bailey’s student artists are 10th-graders Abbi Belliveau, Morgan Diggins, Liberty Faliveno, Bailey McCormick, Miranda Meyer, Kayleigh Schermerhorn, Alisa Shepherd and Lauren Smith; 11th-graders Bridget Camblin, Alyssa James and Jordyn Loveless; and 12th-graders Aleah Norsen and Sierra Pleckan.