Students Richie Hall and Beth Yohe pose in front of artwork produced and exhibited by them and other Buxmont Academy classmates.Students Richie Hall and Beth Yohe pose in front of artwork produced and exhibited by them and other Buxmont Academy classmates.

As the digital arts teacher of CSF Buxmont Academy in Sellersville, I am constantly amazed at my students’ abilities. Among other qualities, they are creative, talented, observant, intelligent and insightful. Sometimes my students fail to see their talents, as they can get caught up in the struggles that have brought them to our program. CSF Buxmont Academy, a restorative practices school, affords our students a place to grow, change, and connect with others. As a restorative practitioner, I see the importance of involving our students in community projects – in my mind, a reminder that their input in society is just as important as others’ contributions.

Stella’s Houseblend Café in Sellersville is a popular eatery that showcases many local and regional artists. As a photographer, I was fortunate to secure an exhibit this past February. During that time, I spoke with Tiki Martino, the owner of Stella’s. Tiki was familiar with Buxmont Academy, as I frequently brought our students to Stella’s to see the monthly exhibits. I inquired about a possible student show, and she quickly agreed. After touching base with display 5Heather Walter, our school’s art teacher (who loved the idea), I spoke with my classes and asked if they would want to have a community show. They were excited and enthused about bringing their talents to the town of Sellersville.

The students stayed involved throughout the entire process: when one volunteered to design a banner, several students offered to colorize it for him. Students sat down with us to discuss their favorite works and together we decided which pieces were best suited for the exhibit. On the day of setup, we took a dozen – yes, a dozen - students to a crowded café to quietly and respectfully work around their patrons to hang their artwork. In about an hour or so, the walls were strewn with approximately 40 colorful paintings, intense designs and thoughtful photos of Sellersville. My kids felt great about their accomplishment, and Heather and I were incredibly proud of them.

Their artwork has been on display since the beginning of November and has received positive reviews. A local reporterdisplay 1 recently spoke with a few of our students and published a piece in the Perkasie News Herald. Stella’s Café was a participant in our town’s Winter Fest celebration, so the Buxmont Academy art showcase was on display during that evening’s community event. Our students even held a small reception where they could show their work to their families. I was surprised and thrilled at how many took the time to attend a school event on a weekend.

We are thankful for the opportunity that Stella’s Café provided us; they gave our students a venue to showcase their talents. The show remains on display until January 4, 2015.

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