Robotics team picks up paintbrushes


June’s Gallery Walk in the Carmel Arts & Design District burst with the additional summer colors of the second annual Chair of a Different Color Contest.

Five Adirondack chairs built and painted by Carmel High School students were displayed by hosts ArtSplash Gallery, Eye on Art Gallery and French Bleu Gallery.

“Connecting the students from the high school with our galleries is a fantastic way to get to know each other, pass on valuable knowledge and encourage creativity,” said Stephanie Marshall, Arts District community relations director.

While last year’s inaugural event featured art students, this year introduced a new collaboration. Carmel teacher George Giltner rallied his robotics team to demonstrate the design skills of engineering students.

Jerry Points, Eye on Art artist and head of the Gallery Association, mentored two of those robotics students, Erin Miller and Matt Olson.

“All of these students really exhibited a combination of right-brain and left-brain skills,” Points said. “They were enthusiastic and prepared with ideas and sketches.”

“We wanted to have a summer theme with bright colors,” Olson said.

An accident Olson made while sketching inspired the deep pink spirals of their watermelon theme.

“They had a great idea to begin with,” Points said. He reminded the students to design with the chair’s three-dimensional shape in mind. “I recommended they continue the green rind on the back.”

Robotics teammates Blake Loncharich and Molly Wardlow were mentored by ArtSplash artist Erika Woods on their chair’s ocean theme.

“I didn’t expect to do detailed painting,” Loncharich said. “I thought we were painting them solid colors.”

Loncharich and Wardlow researched pictures of ocean life to capture details such as coral, clown and jellyfish.

“I was surprised the parts I painted turned out so well,” Wardlow said.

At first, students Aryaman Gupta and Vincent Ma planned on a galaxy theme, but direction from artist Lynn Medsker of ArtSplash helped them downscale to the night sky.

“We realized trying to paint the galaxy would be too many details,” Ma said.

Their night sky includes a UFO hovering above tree silhouettes and crop circles while a comet streaks across the chair back.

ArtSplash artist Bob Shade mentored Hannah Anderson and Ashley Brown with a hot air balloon theme.

“I haven’t taken an art class since middle school,” Brown said. “It was really neat to get to work artistically on a project.”

As final exams loomed, Brown explained students worked on the chairs during their free period and after school.

Artist and French Bleu Gallery owner Susan Mauck guided Mara Fattah and David Murzyn with their chair’s beach theme.

“She recommended some asymmetry to create more visual interest,” Murzyn said.

Their sky blue chair features two palm trees on a meandering coastline with fuchsia hibiscus on each armrest.

Miller and Olson won Community Choice for their watermelon chair, and Loncharich and Wardlow won Artists’ Choice for their ocean chair. Each student received a $100 Visa gift card provided by PNC Bank, Museum of Miniature Houses, Arts & Design District and Carmel Central.

Supporters sponsored each chair for $500: Bruce Calibre of Old Town Tavern, City of Carmel, Indiana Design Center, Kelly Hindman of Edward Jones, and Wine and Canvas. $2,500 in proceeds to the CHS Robotics Team scholarship fund will assist members in attending regional and national competitions.

Wine and Canvas offers the public a chance to win the ocean chair. Register for any Wine and Canvas class in June to be entered in the drawing and winners will be announced July 1. Five miniature Adirondack chairs painted by student artists also are on display at the Museum of Miniature Houses.

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