Community donations help art dept. purchase newest technology

CRESCO - Last year, Tanya Riehle, the Crestwood High School Art teacher, started to dream big about adding new technology to the art room. 
“I really wanted students to see that their art has real world implications. They don’t have to create art for the sake of creating art. Their pieces can be made into tangible things.” 
Many students and consumers alike turn to the popular website Etsy to buy custom items and unique art, and many of these items are created on machines like the Glowforge 3D laser printer. 
Early last March, Mrs. Riehle created a Donors Choose account to purchase the high-tech printer; however when COVID happened, the fund-raising for the new machine was put on hold. 
This past fall, Mrs. Riehle and Kim Kerian, K-12 Instructional Coach, started the grant-writing process, as well as reaching out to area businesses. Gary Gooder at Alum-Line was the first business owner to see the potential and agreed to donate $2,000 towards the project. Scott Thomson from CUSB Bank gave $2,000 as well. The rest of the funds came from two other grants; the Howard County Foundation awarded the art department $2,000, and the Geneva Prinz Endowment from St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Lime Springs granted $1,000. 
This machine has endless potential. 
Students started creating things right away. Using both premade and handmade templates, students can add artwork to create shelves, bowls, photo frames and pieces of art to hang on walls, as well as functional things you can use everyday. They can also engineer their own sculptures by cutting parts and assembling them. 
The best part — their art can be created over and over again. Gooder noted, “These are skills I want employees to have.” Students are taking original ideas and creating things that are very marketable and can be used in the workforce tomorrow. Materials such as leather, cardboard, wood, metal and plastic can all be etched, 3D-engraved and cut on the new piece of equipment. 
Each art class this year will be able to create a piece of art on the laser. Senior art students are creating 2-D and 3-D designs with it right now, Photoshop class is using both Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create cut files for the machine and create bowls and 3-D engraved art. Studio classes and Foundations classes will also create a piece of art with it. Photography will get to engrave one of their photos on either wood or acrylic. 
There is a big learning curve, and classes are doing testing. “There wasn’t a lot of information on 3-D engraving with the Glowforge, so we decided to figure out how to do it on our own. The students and I have cut a lot of tests, some turn out great, some are a complete fail, so they figure out what went wrong, adjust settings and try again!” explained Riehle.
“We are truly grateful for all the donations that were given to the art department for this purchase. It is amazing to have businesses and people who are so invested in giving back to the community.” 
Besides working with businesses and organizations in getting the Glowforge printer, some students are designing a pizza box lid that will be on display at Atomic Pizza in downtown Cresco.
The students look forward to displaying some of their pieces at the Cresco Fine Arts Show in August.

Cresco Times

Phone: 563-547-3601
Fax: 563-547-4602

Cresco TPD
214 N. Elm Street
Cresco, IA 52136

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