Against student art backdrop, local artist donates $1000 to Homewood schools

As Homewood students proudly displayed drawings, paintings, sculptures and weavings at the all-school art fair recently at Bottle and Bottega, a local professional artist donated $1,000 to support their future work.
  Marc Alan Fishman, second
  from right, drew a comic book
  page to present a $1,000
  donation to the District 153
  Visual Arts Activity Fund,
  accepted by art teachers Anne
  Siegler, from left, Andy Slivka
  and Kristin Mescall.
  
(Carole Sharwarko/HF Chronicle)
 

The art exhibition of young people in the Homewood area included works by students at District 153 and Homewood-Flossmoor High School. It was organized by teachers Anne Siegler, Andy Slivka and Kristin Mescall and judged by Marc Alan Fishman, the artist who donated the cash.

 
Fishman, a resident of Glenwood Estates, works as a marketing director and comic book artist. He is well known for designing 2018’s Think Homewood advertising campaign that attempted to lure city-dwelling hipsters to the town with promises of light traffic and avocado availability.
 
Shortly after the campaign launched, Fishman decided to make T-shirts for himself and a few friends to wear during the WGN Block Party in July 2018 that used the same tongue-in-cheek motif. 
 
“It was a joke that only people from Homewood will get. It was a kombucha bottle with avocados growing out of it,” Fishman said. “People saw it and asked if they could buy one. I thought, maybe, but if I did sell it, I don’t want to profit.”
 
To give back to the Homewood school district that helped launch his own artistic development, Fishman decided to sell the shirts and direct the proceeds to support visual arts in District 153. 
 
He sold 75 shirts in two weeks for $20 each. In the end, after his cost to make the shirts, Fishman raised $1000. However, he then found out that the district didn’t have a way to accept the donation that would direct it for use in visual arts instruction.
 
“There were no specific ways to donate to the visual arts,” Fishman said. “That’s where Anne stepped in to create something.”
 
Siegler, an art teacher at Churchill School, established the District 153 Visual Arts Activity Fund to officially accept Fishman’s donation. The artist ceremonially presented the art teachers with a comic book “check” at the art showcase.
 
Art faculty at each of the schools selected the pieces that were included in the student exhibition, said Mescall, who teaches art to junior high students at James Hart School. 
 
“We try to get the same number from each grade level and also represent the diverse population of students in our school,” she said.
 
The art exhibit featured rudimentary works by children as young as the kindergarten through second-graders Slivka teaches to near-professional caliber pieces by H-F seniors.
 
It’s the third year for the showcase, which started when Bottle and Bottega owner Greg Loudon approached art teachers in the district about hosting such an event.
 
“When we opened this business, we wanted to be part of the community, so this is a perfect event for that,” Loudon said. “I’m always amazed by the caliber of art and the skillset of the kids. The teachers are phenomenal.”
 
Fishman said he remembers the art instruction he received at Churchill School and James Hart School was integral to propelling him into an art career. Now he plans to contribute to the fund he inspired through future projects.
 
“I plan to make it a semi-regular thing,” he said.
 

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