Bell Tower, a 15-foot wooden sculpture made by Homewood-Flossmoor High School students, is displayed outside the Flossmoor Public Library. | Brett Roseman~Sun-Times Media
Updated: June 27, 2013 6:29AM
Homewood-Flossmoor District 233 art students tapped local historians for inspiration and became a part of history in the process.
Under the direction of art instructor Greg Petecki, the 3D Studio Art class erected “Bell Tower” at the Flossmoor Public Library, the first off-campus art construction for the class.
“Looking back at the whole process, I think we did learn a bit of history about the community, but I think the process of making history was just as important,” Petecki said. “For these students this was nothing more than an idea six months ago. But to witness the willingness to discuss ideas, research and put an idea into motion, create a monumental sculpture, was a life-changing event.”
Petecki said Flossmoor village officials approached him a year ago about collaborating with the Flossmoor Public Art Commission, a group of residents and artists who promote arts in the community, to create a sculpture for display in the community.
For the past eight years, Petecki’s classes have been designing and creating sculptures that were placed on the H-F campus. The opportunity to do a community project sparked some new activities, including researching the history of Flossmoor with Jim Wright at the Homewood Historical Society.
Petecki said the group discovered that a schoolhouse, “the pillar of the community,” was among the first structures residents built in the 1800s.
The school’s bell tower, “an American icon for schools,” gave life to the idea for the artwork, Petecki said.
“I was blessed with an amazing group of students this year who stepped up to the plate in order to accomplish this major feat,” Petecki said. “To build a 15-foot tall sculpture, off campus, is not an easy process.”
Haley Armand, 17, a junior in 3D Studio Art, said she thought it was “cool” to put “Bell Tower” in front of the library.
“Once people understand what it is, I think it will spark an interest in art outside the classroom,” Armand said.
The artwork was constructed on site May 16, and a ceremony was held May 19 at the library to commemorate the event.
The art commission was “so impressed with the original idea,” Petecki said, that there are plans to continue the project on a three-year rotation.
“Every one of the students brought their own strength to the table,” Petecki said. “Whether it was welding skills learned in their shop class, documenting the process through a video or just helping with tools and the dirty work, each student had an opportunity to participate. I’m so proud of them.”
The student artists are Haley Armand, Jayla Barrett, Dylan Chose, Ronald Coleman, Duvante Dean, Josephine Edelbrock, Nigel Gibbs, Romello Jordan, Jalen Kidd, Zachary Larks, Imani Lindsey Graham, Paris Meeky, Keely Mizenburg, Eva Santucci, Kayla Thomas, and Javon Thompson.
Joe Tullo, H-F’s applied arts instructor and his student, Kenneth Nye, assisted with the welding process.
Members of the Flossmoor Public Art Commission are Richard Bumstead, chairman; Nancy Burrows, Shoran Lorsch, Michael Cheney, Terry Allison, Charlene Gordon and Jeff Stevenson.