Fox project brings PRIDE to Newark students

During the recent weather, Lincoln and Perkins schools art teacher Courtney Dentel was thinking about winter-related art projects for her universal pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students. 

Then, she got an idea: they could create warm winter sweaters for Mr. Fox, the district’s mascot as well as the Newark PRIDE fox. 

Giana Guck signs her artwork for a recent project involving the Newark Central School District’s fox mascot.

Dentel, who is the UPK-12 art department leader for the Newark Central School District, and her Lincoln teacher assistant, Katherine Paddock, first showed their students examples of animal artwork by contemporary Mexican artist and designer Indi Maverick. They became eager to create similar mixed media foxes wearing winter sweaters. 

Over the course of four classes, they learned how to draw a fox, create textured fur and a patterned sweater, use a paint brush and watercolor paints, and create a snowflake-patterned background. 

Aiden Bremer shows off the winter sweater he created for his fox.

Dentel said her students “made connections to the Newark PRIDE fox, and our PRIDE expectations at school and in our community.” These include being safe, respectful, responsible and part of the school community. Students decided which of the PRIDE expectations they wanted their fox to show in the hallway displays. 

“Making connections across content areas, as well as exploring social-emotional learning, through the creative art-making process is an important part of my philosophy of art education,” Dentel said. “Art-making is a powerful tool that connects us to our self and to our communities in which we live.”

A collection of the students’ fox artwork hangs in the Perkins School hallway.