Students assist artist in creating original work for Little League

World-renowned artist Charles Fazzino held his final workshop at Little League International Thursday morning for 36 selected fifth-graders from Lycoming and Sullivan counties. The students were there to help create his famous 3-D pop art effect on Fazzino’s original piece of art, which will be dedicated at the 2014 Little League Baseball World Series.

The piece then will become a permanent fixture in the World of Little League: Peter J. McGovern Museum and Official Store.

The First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania teamed up with Little League International and Pennsylvania College of Technology to bring Fazzino to Williamsport to host workshops and work on his original piece for Little League.

“I read Fazzino’s blog and saw how passionate he is about keeping the arts alive and promoting creativity in the schools, which brought the idea to bring him to Williamsport,” said Jennifer Wilson, president and CEO of First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania.

The students learned the 3-D pop art technique hands-on while Fazzino assisted them. Two students at a time glued the layers of art on the art piece, using an ice-cream swirl technique with a silicone glue.

Students who were not working on the piece decorated baseballs with what they thought of when they think about the Little League World Series.

“My favorite part of Little League is when everyone starts cheering. Everyone is so loud when they (the players) get a home run,” said Dillan Read, from Curtin Intermediate School in Williamsport.

The baseballs then were placed on a frame that will go around Fazzino’s original piece, on which the students also helped work.

“My favorite part of today has been drawing, because I love to draw,” said Dominca Daugherty, student at McCall Middle School in Montoursville.

This area has been very lucky, Fazzino said, in that many art programs have not been lost to funding cuts. However, many schools in other parts of the country are cutting art classes. By participating in the workshop, Fazzino hopes the students will become supporters of the arts.

“I think that it is important that as they get older, they get an appreciation of the arts. Some kids just don’t have that connection, whether there is creativity there or not, there is just no connection to art. This is a way for them (students) to connect,” he said.

The original piece Fazzino created and the frame will be dedicated Aug. 16, during opening weekend of the Little League World Series. Fazzino will return to Williamsport and present the piece on the field with the 36 fifth-graders who helped him create it. The piece then will be placed in the World of Little League Museum for generations to admire, said Brian McClintock, director of media relations at Little League International.

The students are stunned that their art will be preserved in the World of Little League Museum, said Tina Sampsell, art teacher at Montgomery Elementary School.

“When we were putting the plans together to celebrate Little League’s 75th anniversary, we wanted to do something in the community to celebrate that would involve kids, said Stephen Keener, president and CEO of Little League International. “Little League will receive a beautiful 75th anniversary art piece from one of the world’s most renowned artists and, more importantly, these kids are going to be exposed to something that maybe they wouldn’t have the opportunity to learn about in the schools.”

Little League founder Carl Stotz understood that kids learn more from the experience rather than winning and losing.

The programs hosted by Fazzino fits nicely with Little League’s mission that it is not all winning and losing, it is about the process of learning and gaining values through something instructive, Keener said.

Little League International will sell replicas of the finished piece that will be available for purchase in the World of Little League Museum store. Fazzino suggested to Little League that they may want to make some replicas for people to purchase, because many people love the original work and want a copy to take home, Keener said.

Fazzino returned to New York Thursday evening but said he had a great experience in Williamsport. He toured the city and tried some of the local restaurants, which he said were fabulous. Everyone in Williamsport was very friendly to him, which he said was a nice change from New York City.

“It was really nice to come to a place where everyone is really pleasant,” Fazzino said.