Creating a collaborative community-inspired clay relief art installation with 19 teenagers is no small task but Belfast artist Randy Fein, working with Julie Ryan and her about-to-graduate eighth grade class at the St. George School, pulled it off … and put it up.

Fein and Ryan had a vision to create a unique artwork that would be installed permanently at the school's entrance. Thanks to a grant from an out of state foundation, they were able to make this concept a reality. The public is invited to see the result, as well as a showcase of K-8 student work, during the Celebration of Learning open house Monday, June 12, from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Using about 250 pounds of clay, students created an exterior clay relief sculpture. The theme celebrates the students' connection to the sea, as this community is situated on a peninsula that juts out into the ocean where these students live and work and play.

The interdisciplinary project explored aspects in both science and art. Students were inspired by the habitat of local marine life, and discussed sustainable fishing practice and its importance to the livelihood of the community. Each eighth grader chose a related concept of personal interest. The students created a series of drawings or chose images on line depicting what they would contribute in clay relief to the collaborative sculpture project. The result is a nautical composition of a student created clay relief sculpture depicting lobsters, lobster boats, striped bass, mackerel, crabs, blueberries, pine trees, a compass rose and more.

"When I conduct a collaborative art project with students, I think of myself as the orchestra leader," said Fein. “Each student designs their own unique part to play. My artistic directive is to pull it all together into a harmonic display of visual interest, beauty and of course durability, as it is permanent installation.”

The students came up with the work’s title, which Fein said she “thought was perfect as this graduating class of 19 students leave a lasting gift to the school and their community.”

The public is invited to view the permanent sculpture installation located at the main entrance to the school anytime, in addition to during the June 12 open house, when Fein and students will be on hand to showcase their work.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.