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LHS Art Teacher’s Work to Be Displayed at Biennial Show

Ann Perry-Smith Cloud Squirrel

Artwork created by a Lancaster High School art teacher will be shared with the community during the Burchfield Penney Art Center's biennial Art in Craft Media Show from November 10 to March 31, 2024. 

“It’s really fun to surprise people with work that’s very different from what people would recognize,” said Ann Perry-Smith.

Perry-Smith’s student-named ceramic work, “Cloud Squirrel,” was initially created as a demonstration of a project for students to make, and that the piece in the show reflects about four years of working in the style. The piece uses gold leaf to create the cloud look, and shows texture through pressings of items like pencil ends, a screw, a pen and a hammer.

“You can use anything to make the texture,” she said. 

Ms. Perry-Smith, a Roycroft artisan, said the final piece was developed over years of working in the style, and that her entry for the show was the second time she made the work, after she dropped her first attempt.

“It gave me a chance to look at the project again and to learn from it,” Ms. Perry-Smith said. “Mistakes can be a good thing.”

Ms. Perry-Smith has been in the show multiple times, and returns to the show for the first time since 2019. Among the highlights of having her work selected over the years, she said, was seeing it displayed along with works of her former students.

“They’re incredible artists,” Ms. Perry-Smith said. “We are equals and we have this conversation through our art.” 

The show placement is just one of the many honors for Ms. Perry-Smith during her 33 years with the Lancaster Central School District. Hundreds of pieces of her work, along with work by her students, have been featured in all three editions of the textbook "Experience Clay,” with the latest edition set to be released in 2024. Ms. Perry-Smith said she met the book’s author, Maureen Mackey, at a conference about 30 years ago, and soon after the author reached out asking for examples of her and her students’ pieces. Seeing their work published was a big deal for her students, Ms. Perry-Smith said. 

She said some of her students have framed images of textbook pages with their work, and that it was an honor to know their work was being shared with art students across the country as well as internationally.

“It’s ripples on a pond to know you’ve been here,” Ms. Perry-Smith said. “It’s a huge blessing for me every day.” 

A textbook featuring Lancaster students' work.