ROCKINGHAM — A few lovable monsters invaded Arts Richmond this week when art teacher Susan Perkins brought in some paper-mâché art pieces in need of refurbishment from Richmond Senior High School.
Rising ninth-grader Taylor Parrish, 14, assisted Perkins even though it’s the middle of summer — a time when many students pursue their own interests instead of art preservation.
“She’s here earning her Beta Club hours,” Perkins said. “She’s helping me work on patching up and repainting these, and these monsters are probably older than she is. They are made of clothes-hangers, newspaper, bedsheets and glue.”
Asked why the adorable Pixar-style monsters need touch-ups now and again, Taylor explained what she’s learned.
“They’ll start falling apart,” she said. “They don’t always need new layers applied.”
Perkins said the typical thoughts people have of paper-mâché deal with wheat glue, but that’s not the material used by artists past elementary school age.
“They eventually found out that the ones made out of the wheat glue attracted mice,” she said. “They would find mice inside them after a while. So now we use cloth and we also use this substance called plaster gauze. It’s like gauze embedded with plaster.”
Perkins explained that the gauze material worked in the same way as the medical gauze once used to make casts for setting broken bones.
Parrish said she enjoys working at Arts Richmond for her Beta Club project.
“Basically we’re just earning public service hours for Beta club,” Parrish said. “I’m going to Ninth-Grade Academy and I’m ready. I don’t know the teachers there, but I know the librarian, Ms. Craven. When I used to go to Richmond Primary before it became Ninth-Grade Academy she was there. Some other Beta Club members are doing other things like helping at Discovery Place Kids, volunteering around the world and helping little kids in Haiti. I love doing paper mâché and all challenging arts. I can see a possible career in art, maybe illustrating books.”
If the monsters don’t scare you away, feel free to drop by Arts Richmond and check out the bottle art display done by Richmond Senior High School’s graduating class of 2015.
The Rockingham downtown mural, recently moved from Richmond Community College, is also on display at Arts Richmond pending its finding a permanent home in the near future. It can be seen through the window by looking right, where it stretches along the wall.
To keep up with the latest events happening at Arts Richmond, call 910-997-6008 or visit its page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/artsrichmond.
Reach reporter Melonie McLaurin at 910-817-2673 and follow her on Twitter @meloniemclaurin.