The 2014 selection for the Greater Latrobe School District Special Art Collection, “i dreamed of stars” by Stephanie Oplinger.
“This artwork called ‘i dreamed of stars’ which was made by Stephanie Oplinger is an acrylic painting. The artwork depicts a tree with no leaves at night with bright stars in the background. This artwork’s color, lines, and value really stand out in this piece. Some principles Oplinger used are contrast in how dark the tree’s color makes it stand out in the bright blues of the night sky. I thought Oplinger was trying to communicate follow your dreams no matter what. This artwork is successful in its symbolism and just the appearance this piece has to offer to the collection.”
— Josh Baumann, grade 10, student docent at Nov. 6 Art Gala
Barbara Nakles, chairwoman of the Greater Latrobe School District Art Conservation Trust, understands why student council officers selected “i dreamed of stars,” by Stephanie Oplinger, to add to the school’s collection.
“Perhaps it was interesting to them because at this time in their lives, it’s what we hope they’re doing — looking among the stars,” Nakles said.
The painting, selected from the Fred Rogers Fine Arts Regional Art Exhibition at the Latrobe Art Center this year, will hang among the more than 200 pieces of original art added to the collection by students since 1936.
Each year students view about 20 pieces chosen at three regional art shows and vote for their top five favorites, which this year were revealed at the gala on Nov. 6 before students picked “i dreamed of stars,” featuring black branches of a tree in front of a background of blue swirling stars, on Nov. 21.
Once displayed in the hallways of Greater Latrobe Senior High School, Oplinger’s work may be a part of a short documentary planned by the art conservation trust.
The film will be funded partly by a $2,500 “mini-grant” from Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor and partly by matching funds, said Jessica Golden, director of development at Greater Latrobe.
“The grant is focused on promoting and preserving the Lincoln Highway and its heritage and culture,” she said.
The campus of the junior and senior high schools lies along the Old Lincoln Highway, and the decades-old art collection, featuring many local artists, has definitely become connected to the region’s culture, Nakles said.
“Now that this art collection is more than 70 years old, it’s a part of the history as well,” she said.
The video, planned to be under 10 minutes, will update an older 15-minute film from about five years ago, Golden said.
The trust will work with the senior high’s video and broadcast department to start shooting the film at the beginning of the year with plans to finish it by September, she said. It will explain how the collection was founded, how students are involved in the art selection, and how it is maintained by the art trust, she said.
“We thought we really needed to renew and rejuvenate the documentary,” Golden said.
The grant also will fund brochures accessible to visitors at the senior high, much like those available at the exhibits featuring Fred Rogers and Arnold Palmer for self-guided tours.
Any visitors wishing to visit the art collection specifically for a guided tour should make an appointment with Golden by calling 724-539-4220.
Once completed, the film won’t be available for purchase but will be used more for informational purposes, given to visitors and art trust donors and shown on the district’s website, she said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 firstname.lastname@example.org