From staff reports
Deirdre Keane, a student enrolled in Lighthouse Island Academy in Tionesta has recently been invited to serve as a student intern with Thomas Ferraro, a renowned exhibiting artist, teaching artist, painter and cultural advocate for the Erie area, Northwest PA, New York and surrounding areas.
The opportunity for Keane and Ferraro to work together came as a result of a grant received by the Forest Folk School from the Elk County Council of the Arts, in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Program. This grant invited three artists from the Erie Arts Council and Culture to provide two-day workshops for Lighthouse Island Academy students. The first artist, Kathy Umlauf, introduced students to sculpturing with plaster and clay. The second artist, Ferraro, worked with students in sketching, drawing and painting with acrylics. And the third artist, Deborah Sementelli, taught students how to sew by hand and how to make special characters out of socks.
Through the workshop experiences came the “once in a lifetime opportunity” for Keane to work as an intern with Ferraro. Ferraro recognized Deirdre’s artistic abilities and when asked if the internship would be a possibility, welcomed her to become a part of an Erie arts project in which he was involved. More specifically, Ferraro and three other artists from the Erie area, have been actively engaged in a huge artistic mural/sculpture project that will be displayed throughout the former industrial/manufacturing sections of Erie. The artists are striving to “bring to life” a representation of the area from decades ago.
Keane’s painting has contributed to assisting the artists with the project!. Commenting on Deirdre’s artistic talents and performance, Ferraro stated, “… how nice it was that Deirdre was so skilled I could just ‘cut her loose and let her paint’ without having to monitor what she was doing.
Deirdre will continue to work as an intern on the Erie project until its completion and then is pursuing plans to attend Edinboro University as an art major in Fall 2016.