New Castle News

Neshannock

May 20, 2014

Visual goes virtual at Neshannock

NEW CASTLE — End-of-the-year art shows — nearly every school has one to showcase the works of its students.

Generally, they’re an easy sell to parents and grandparents, who are eager for their opportunity to see what their progeny have created.

But what about the general public? That, Ned Yahn said, is a different story.

“Hours were spent taping drawings and paintings to the walls of the school,” the visual arts instructor for Neshannock junior and senior high students said. “It was a lot of work to hang and maintain but the school looked great.

“The problem was that no one took the time to look at it. I was disappointed that I could never get people to walk around the halls of the school to view the incredible things my students had created. Over the years, I tried combining the art show with the musical, the band and choir concerts and the elementary art exhibit. I never seemed to get the traffic we hoped for.  ”

This year, though, inspiration struck not only the students, but also the teacher. Yahn decided to add a little virtual to the visual.

He created a QR — or “quick response” — code that links to a website where the students’ artwork is displayed. The QR is a type of bar code that can be scanned by smart phones and other devices to provide the user with specific information.

In Yahn’s case, each of his students has a gallery on the website that contains photographs of  his or her art work. Yahn adds images of their creations daily.

“We placed the QR code on signs in the hallways,” Yahn said. “We placed it in the The Lancer Chronicle — our school newspaper — and I created a program for the exhibit that was distributed at the spring band concert and choir concert.”

The result? You might say it was a work of art.

“Finally, I have found the solution,” Yahn said. “My students are so excited and proud. People are scanning the code and interacting with and responding to the art.

“It brings to mind so many thoughts for debate about the art viewing experience and process. It challenges the concepts of relating to public art within the privacy of your cell phone.”

Yahn added that the QR code is expected to be posted on the school district’s website — www.neshannock.k12.pa.us — this week. For those without the ability to scan the code, you can still view the works by logging on to http://artshow.smugmug.com.

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)

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