Artist: Toll Gate Elementary – Gillian Beck and Student Artists
Sponsor: Hopewell Valley Community Bank
The design motif for Patches was inspired by the world of a Toll Gator; how they view, interact with, and help shape the community. The imagery across the ox is rooted in our traditions, celebrations, themes, and the memories created at Toll Gate. Illustrations of TASK, Pennington Day, Field Day and this year’s theme, which was bucket filling, are just a few of the images our students have incorporated into the project.
Once our staff and students had agreed upon a design, we got to work bringing our vision to life and each grade level had an important role in this special project. Our first, second, and third grade students created the building blocks of color. The fourth and fifth graders led in the design of the tapestry of images covering Patches. Our kindergarteners covered the ox with metallic polka dot and heart patterns. We drew artistic inspiration from the likes of Andy Warhol, Romero Britto and Ted Harrison. These artists embody the signature pop art style, utilizing bright, flat areas of color and our use of the Acrylic paint medium emulated this. It was a team effort with our entire student body coming together to visually express the shared experience of seeing the world through the eyes of a Toll Gator.
This ox was sold during the online auction for $2,100.
About the Artist
Gillian Beck teaches art to grades first through fifth at a wonderful school called Toll Gate Grammar, which is a part of the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Ms. Beck graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania during which time she earned both her bachelor’s degree in art education as well as her fine arts degree. During the course of her studies, her concentration was in painting with a focus on watercolor.
The Stampede was especially important to the artist because she grew up in Pennington and she feels a strong connection to the community. Ms. Beck’s interest in community-based projects began with her involvement in the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Training Program. This interest manifested into several community-based projects during her first year of teaching; one of which was the “ I Dream a World” 4th grade Artist in Residency. In addition to her love of teaching, Ms. Beck is also a practicing artist and is currently working on a series of locally inspired aerial landscapes in watercolor.
The community ethos is prevalent in her artwork and is reflected within her teaching philosophy.