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Students display artwork for community

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By Linda Ireland

 Several LaRue County High School juniors and seniors displayed their creations at an art exhibit Thursday in the school’s library. The projects included paintings, pencil drawings and claywork.

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Art teacher Monique Hanna was pleased by the community turnout to the event and said she was surprised when the spotlight was turned on her earlier in the week.

One of her students, junior Denzell Lewis, produced a replica of the Statue of Liberty in clay as an outdoor sculpture for Hanna’s garden.

Lewis created the sculpture at Art Smart LLC in Elizabethtown and “snuck it in” the school, Hanna said.

Several people were in on the secret until it was unveiled last week. Hanna was so touched by the gesture, she cried.

Wanda Lewis, Denzell’s adoptive mother, said the family moved to Hodgenville from Chicago, Ill., in 2010 to be closer to family. It was a major adjustment to the entire family but Denzell had a difficult time adjusting to the small town atmosphere.

His old school had 3,000 students. LCHS has fewer than 800.

Enrolling in Hanna’s class – and taking classes with Sherri McIntosh at Art Smart – seemed to help. 

He had taken one art class before enrolling at LCHS. He described it as “very structured.”

When it came time to work in clay, one of his favorite mediums, he was told to “make a shoe.”

“A shoe!” he said. “I hated it.” 

Hanna’s class “is easily the best class I’ve ever had in general,” Denzell added. “In the advanced class, she told us ‘don’t tell you what to do, you tell me what you’ll do.’”

But why recreate the Statue of Liberty as a gift?

“I’m a patriot, first of all,” said Denzell. “And I have a memory from my adoption, when I was 3 or 4 – the Statue reminds me of the judge (that handled the adoption proceedings). She made a gesture similar to that (upraised arm of the statue) – I was so small and she looked like a giant with her robe on and all.”

“(Mrs. Hanna) really helped me out a lot,” he continued. “I thought it would be cool to give (the sculpture) to her for her garden.”

The sculpture took three days to complete; the pedestal took a couple of weeks. The longest part of the process was firing the clay, then painting it and waiting for it to dry.

He plans to add a metal frame to the sculpture to make it sturdier for the outdoors. In the meantime, it will continue to be on display at the high school.

Other students who exhibited artwork are seniors, Casey Beckner, Darren Brennan, Cedrick King, Nikki Howell, Heather Tackett and Shane Eden, and juniors Amber Lewis, Chelsea Hibbard, Sarah Brown, Courtney Cleveland, Courtney Heath, Bethany French, Lindsey Gibson, Talicia Eden, Maggie Greyling, Michelle Hornback, Miranda Hornback, Chris Smothers and Sierra Taylor.