Students spin their way to Clay Olympics title

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Students from several different area high schools are getting their hands dirty as they’re participating in the 19th annual Clay Olympics hosted at Buffalo State College. The event is showcasing their work, what they know and their skills and also showing the importance of art and art education.

“It’s unique because you work together,” said Ashley Lamp, a senior at Kenmore East, one of the participating high schools.

Lewiston Porter, Pioneer, and Kenmore East are the three schools going head-to-head, hoping to take home the title for the annual art event.

“When I came, it was like heaven a little bit,” said Brooke Kirisits, a junior at Kenmore East. “Everyone here is the same as me.”

The students participate in several different events such as the Mug-O-Thon where they must spin as many mugs as possible in ten minutes. As they’re racing against the clock, for students like Kirisits, they find doing art a release from everything else going on.

“When you’re doing art, it’s really only you,” said the Kenmore East junior. “You’re the one who makes all the decisions and that’s really very important.”

“It comes from within the individuals,” said Brett Coppins, the ceramics teacher at Lewiston Porter High School.  “I think art has the opportunity to make students more aware of who they are.”

Coppins says he’s seeing more students become interested in art.

“The way kids can see so much imaginary, that really allows them to ask a lot of questions and become more aware and more engaged,” said Coppins. “It’s allowing students to have access, to engage in creativity and creative problem solving and maybe have a little escape from the academic rigors that are schools are offering.”

The students are escaping their rigorous schedules for the annual art event which is put on through donations from Sylvia Rosen. They say they’re hopeful that being able to participate in events like this and showcase their work, will help highlight Buffalo’s budding art scene.

“People are starting to realize how much art is important to our community,” said Lamp.

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