Saturday, April 21, 2001

Schools' art back in sight




By Andrea Tortora
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati's public schools are treasures of art and architecture.

        The only problem: Most people don't know about these gems.

        The Art League hopes to change that.

        An Art League Afternoon 2-4 p.m. Sunday at Woodward High offers a peek inside a masterful museum in the school's basement.

[photo] Ivo Sciarra and Woodward High School Principal Sam Yates look at a yearbook in the school's newly renovated museum. A salvaged gargoyle is part of the art and artifacts on display.
(Glenn Hartong photo)
| ZOOM |
        A planned “coffee table book,” An Expression of the Community, highlights paintings, murals, terra-cotta architecture, Rookwood tiles and water fountains tucked in, around and on the school district's oldest buildings.

        “We're not just someone getting the vapors over nice art,” said Robert Flischel, a league member with a passion for preserving on film the art and architecture in the city's schools.

        Mr. Flischel revived the league five years ago. Started at the turn of the century by high school students at Hughes High, the league held student “penny drives” to purchase statues, stained glass, paintings and other art to display in schools.

        The league disbanded in 1974. Some of the art was carted off to museums or private homes. Many pieces were stored in the schools. Only a handful remains on display.

        The revived Art League wants to see the items — which number in the tens of thousands — restored and displayed.

        “Many students who went here never even knew this museum was down here,” said Doris Mayans, league secretary.

        “We had all this art and it was being kept in toilet closets and all over the building,” said Woodward alum Ivo Sciarra, who helped found the museum.

       



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