Students normally have to travel to art museums or galleries in order to see the work of professional and amateur artists on display.
Not so at Canterbury Elementary School in Cleveland Heights.
Canterbury Gallery opened in November of this year, and it displays the work of local artists for a month. Students get to see a variety of mediums from pottery to jewelry, and the community is invited to buy the work in the case.
Proceeds benefit both the school and the artists — 30 percent is donated to the school's PTA to pay for art programs like field trips, and 70 percent goes back to the artist.
"Canterbury Gallery is designed as a year-round fundraiser," said Sue Cherchiglia, an English Language Arts support teacher at Canterbury who runs the gallery. She started a similar gallery at Gearity Professional Development School when she taught there. "We are showcasing area artists from amateur to professional. Right now we're showing Marc Baker's work, an art teacher over at Bellefaire."
Baker's work — a collection of about 30 pottery, paper marbling and ornament pieces — ranges from $5 to $75.
Each item in the case is numbered. People who want to buy the pieces can stop by during school hours, browse the items in the case, sign their name next to the artwork they want, then visit the school's main office and drop off a check. At the end of the month, when the display changes, they can pick up the piece they purchased.
Cherchiglia said artists set their own prices, so the cost of the work will vary.
"If we don't sell them, that doesn't bother me as much as the kids getting to see the artists. That's more important than the money piece," she said.
But the money she raised at Gearity did enrich the art program — she was able to buy a pottery wheel and take students to The Cleveland Museum of Art.
Artists come from cities in the Cleveland area.
"I'm trying to do a variety of mediums so our kids see real artists at work on display," she said.
The schedule is set for the rest of this school year, and Cherchiglia said she's already booking artists for next year. The display case will be updated on the first Thursday of each month.
Next year, she hopes to expose kids to mediums that are not featured this year, like photography and glass.
"As much as we can enrich the lives of children and give back to our community, and support artists and have the kids see real working artists and what they go through, how they find their materials, how they make their money — I think it's a great opportunity for education."
Below is the schedule of artists* to be featured through May 2013. For more information, contact Cherchiglia at S_Cherchiglia@chuh.org.
Marc Baker, Nov. 1 through Dec. 6. Pottery, paper marbling and ornaments
Kevin Davis, Dec. 6 though Jan. 10. Portraits and drawings
Victoria Ganger, Jan. 10 through Feb. Duct tape purses
Rev. Albert Wagner, Feb. 7 through March 7. Folk art and oil paintings. Work of the late Rev. Wagner selected by his daughter.
Deborah Dashefsky, March 7 through April 11. Pottery
Jo Cowan, April 11 through May 2. Japanese purses and scarves
Mimi Testen, May 2 through May 30. Jewelry
*Some work was created by artists who have passed away.