Bates Middle students create a chicken

Bates Middle chickenBetsy Stein & Nadja Maril

Students at Wiley H. Bates Middle School are hard at work feathering their chicken.

Their chicken sculpture, that is.

Bates, the county's performing and visual arts magnet, is taking part in the Arts Council of Anne Arundel County's "Hatching the Arts" public art program along with at least three other area schools. The program was launched last summer to produce public art that will create awareness for the Capital City Arts District, according to Brenda Collins, program manager for the Arts Council. The chicken theme was chosen to coincide with legislation passed in the City of Annapolis that grants approval for residents to raise chickens on their property.


Students decorating chickens

Five chicken sculptures have already been completed and placed in the community but the next phase of the project brings in the schools.

"Having schools decorate the chickens to be placed throughout the Arts and Entertainment District is phase two of the program," said Gavin Buckley, businessman, restaurateur and board member of the Arts Council. "Phase one was having professional artists and phase two is the students, which is great because it gets the parents involved with knowing what's going on downtown in the Arts district."

The eighth grade visual arts students are calling their bird the Funky Green Chicken, explains Jean Orzech, chairman of the performance and visual arts program and a visual arts instructor at the school. The students are painting the chicken and covering it with recycled products like plastic bottles and bags.

"We are going to paint really detailed designs and put on painted bottles cut so they look like feathers," explains student Henley Beall. "I'm really excited. I really like the idea of making art for the community so that everyone can see what Bates is about and what we can do."

The finished chicken will be on display outside of Maryland Hall, Orzech says.

Other schools also taking part in the program include Annapolis High School, Naval Academy Prep School, Indian Creek School and the Key School.