Art Appreciated: Beauty of Bronze Captivates Fifth-graders

Art Appreciated: Beauty of Bronze Captivates Fifth-graders

Students look closely at the Conductor/Semi-Conductor bronze sculpture in the Performing Arts Center lobby.

Art is everywhere in Wenatchee. A stroll down Wenatchee Avenue is a chance to discover and delight in various works on display. Continue your walk to Riverfront Park, and you’ll encounter intriguing sculptures that complement the landscape and lead you down the loop trail. On a picturesque fall day, the wonder and emotion of three-dimensional art were revealed to Wenatchee School District fifth-graders through the Beauty of Bronze program.

The Beauty of Bronze is Art on the Avenues’ annual arts education program which gives area fifth-graders the opportunity to discover and reflect on the sculpture in their community while working with a professional artist to create and exhibit their own small bronze sculptures. Art on the Avenues is a nonprofit organization providing sustainable, innovative, and educational programs through the exhibition & sale of sculpture.

Each fall through the Beauty of Bronze program, students;

  • Tour the Art on the Avenues Sculpture Garden with community volunteer docents
  • Learn about specific sculptures from professional sculptor and artist-in-residence, Kevin Pettelle
  • Tour backstage at the Performing Arts Center
  • Sketch and study individual sculpture pieces in the collection
  • Work collaboratively to create a temporary environmental sculpture from natural materials in the Andy Goldsworthy Challenge
  • Create a wax sculpture which will be sent to a foundry and cast in bronze
  • Attend a public artists’ reception held in their honor featuring their bronzes in conjunction with the community’s First Friday program.

Art on the Avenues’ mission through the Beauty of Bronze program is to promote in local children appreciation, understanding, and a sense of ownership in their community’s sculpture exhibit and instill the knowledge that art in its many forms is for everyone and that each person can create.

Students from Juan Sanchez's Lewis and Clark Elementary class traversed the Performing Arts Center and loop trail with an expert guide, Wenatchee Valley College Art Instructor Natalie Dotzauer. “ Look around you, there is art everywhere we’ll go today. Take time to really look at each piece, notice the detail and its relationship to its surroundings,” she said to Sanchez’s class.

Northwest bronze sculptor Kevin Pettelle devotes a week each autumn to work with Wenatchee fifth-graders as part of the Beauty of Bronze program. Pettelle, discovered an interest in sculpture at a young age. In the 1980’s he began working with bronze and eventually built his own foundry to cast his sculptures. Many of Pattelle’s pieces such as ‘Ped’ are on public display in Wenatchee. Pattelle encourages students to experience the pieces through sight and touch while explaining his own creative process.

One of Pattelle’s favorite parts of the program happens after the kids leave for the day. Before the wax sculptures, the students create are cast in bronze he gets to sit down and look at every piece of artwork they’ve created. “I notice the titles and descriptions, the little details they’ve given them— that always blows me away. Even after years of doing the kids never cease to amaze me” he said.

The fifth-graders bronze art will be on unveiled during an artists’ reception on First Friday, December 7th from 5-7 p.m. at the Wenatchee Valley Museum and Cultural Center. Parents and the public are invited to attend this special event.

For more about the Beauty of Bronze program and Art on the Avenue visit