Written by Pamela Stark
This past Saturday, Mrs. Sanguinedo and Mrs. Sokolovski of Staten Island Technical High School coordinated Tech’s first ever “Painting with a Punch” event. As a partnership between the school and the arts program at Sundog Theatre, “Painting with a Punch” brought together students, parents, and faculty alike in an evening full of laughs, food, painting, and, of course, punch.
“These kinds of events are becoming more and more popular,” commented Mrs. Sokolovski, the advisor of the Art Club and one of the event organizers, “You spend time with friends and loved ones, and at the end, you get to take home a beautiful painting to serve as a memory or a gift.”
Indeed, the spirits at Tech’s painting extravaganza were high: the cafeteria was filled with joyous chatter as the guests, sipping on their hot chocolate, attempted to recreate a winter wonderland scene with the direction of Samuel Vega. A look at the works of art, despite the similar subject matter, revealed very distinct scenes and art styles. One student’s painting featured a lime green sky contrasting a foreground of vivid blue pines. When asked to comment on her painting, she replied, “Something went very wrong.”
But, as in the words of Victoria Colella, the Arts and Education Manager at Sundog Theatre, there is no right way to art.
“Art really allows you to tap into your creative side,” Victoria explained, referring to the dozens of unique works-in-progress. “It is entirely subjective. It looks like how you want it to look- there is no right or wrong.”
It is with this mindset that the original founders of Sundog Theatre created their nonprofit organization. Their purpose? To bring art in all forms to the schools of Staten Island. Sundog Theatre provides enrichment programs in dance, theater, playwriting, and the fine arts to schools all over the island. As stated by Samuel Vega, their program attempts to rejuvenate the art scene and keep people involved in art.
“Events like this are important because access to art isn’t as widespread as it once was,” noted Vega. “We are trying to keep people involved and passionate about the arts. We want people to enrich themselves and pursue more creative endeavors in their life.”
Beyond providing the participants with a way to tap into their creative side, the event functioned as a fundraiser for Staten Island Tech’s Art Club. Over the last couple of years, the art program has lost some of its funding. Previously, the after school art program in Tech was able to welcome a professional artist to provide instruction for the members of the program. This year, however, the program lost its grant for a teaching artist.
“We’re doing all we can to bring back the program to Staten Island Tech,” explains Mrs. Sanguinedo. “Between this event and the Bake Sale later this year, we’re hoping that we will be able to reintroduce this essential part of the program.”
Thankfully, the evening ends in high hopes for the Art Club, as “Painting with a Punch” seems to have been wildly successful. As the event draws to a close, people come together to admire each other’s work and to take pictures with one another. It is evident that the evening’s experiences will long be engraved in the minds of all those who attended.
Mrs. Sokolovski comments: “I am incredibly happy with how the event turned out, and I hope we are able to bring it back next year. This has been an amazing experience for everyone, and I hope it brings more people to our Art Club meetings after school.”
For more information about the art program at Tech, contact Mrs. Sanguinedo and Mrs. Sokolovski. For more information about Sundog Theatre and their programs, visit www.sundogtheatre.org.