PLATTSBURGH — When Bucky Seiden's loves of history, art and children collide, the result is something the entire community can enjoy for years to come.
In 2008, the Plattsburgh artist helped organize the colorful mosaic mural — created by seventh-graders and art teachers from schools all over Clinton County — that hangs on the south, exterior wall of the Clinton County Government Center.
Now, Seiden has teamed up with teachers and about 100 high-school students from Chazy Central Rural School to create another mural, this time, to adorn an interior wall at Plattsburgh International Airport.
While the Government Center piece depicts the rich history of Clinton County, the airport mural will illustrate the timeline of the former Plattsburgh Air Force Base, from 1814 to present.
"People who are waiting for flights can see the history," Seiden said.
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The mural will comprise multi-shaped ceramic tiles on which the students will paint images showing the many occupants of the base property through time, including Champlain College, the U.S. Army and Navy, Plattsburgh Barracks and numerous types of military aircraft.
“I think it's a wonderful way for people to become informed as to what happened (on the base),” said Chazy high-school art teacher Margaret Gruetzmacher, whose students will participate in the project this fall.
Seiden plans to depict the airport at the center of the mural, with the historical timeline around it, the airport's runway above it and Air Force Thunderbird aircraft protruding from it.
Also illustrated on the tiles, she said, will be some of the area's popular recreational activities, such as skiing, bass fishing and sailing, to give airport travelers an idea of the region's tourism.
As part of their curriculum from September to December, Gruetzmacher's graphic-design, pottery and photography students will work on the project, which is made possible by a $2,200 grant from the Adirondack Arts in Education Partnership.
“The kids are going to have to do everything,” Gruetzmacher said.
In addition to researching the history of Plattsburgh Air Force Base, students will re-size historical photographs taken on the property, which will be traced, transferred onto slabs of clay and carved out. The clay will then be fired, and students will use colorful glazes to bring the pieces to life.
Students in Kyle Syck's industrial-arts classes at CCRS will be responsible for framing and installing the mural, which will be constructed on movable panels at the airport, and photography students will be given the task of documenting the entire process on camera.
“Being at the airport, I think, is a wonderful thing because of the location and how people are going to be able to view what they create,” Gruetzmacher said.
Working on the mural, Seiden noted, is a unique experience because it engages students in multiple academic subject areas while simultaneously allowing them to give something special to the community.
“They’re doing something that’s going to be a legacy for many generations," she said.
Seiden has already begun collecting images of the base property at different points in time for the students to re-create out of clay, but she hopes to find more in the coming weeks.
She is especially interested in photographs of the B-52s and other aircraft that were stationed there throughout the years.
The size of the mural, Seiden noted, will depend largely upon how many images are incorporated.
To share photos, contact her at 561-5973.
Donations to support the cost of creating the mural are also welcome, she said.
Checks made out to "Bucky Seiden/Plattsburgh Air Force Base Mosaic" may be sent to: Bucky Seiden, 4 Concord Ave., Plattsburgh, NY 12901.
Email Ashleigh Livingston: email@example.com