Arts & Entertainment

Yorktown Art Students Spruce up Signs at Hilltop Hanover Farm

Julia Bender, Ava Bremer and Ariana Blume proudly display their finished sign.
Yorktown high school art teachers Bettina Varotta and Jennifer Astrab assist Anishi Duvvi and Ava Howard complete their organic butternut squash sign.
Art teacher Bettina Varotta offers some help to Francis San Diego’s sign.

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Two dozen Yorktown High School art students loaned their talents to Hilltop Hanover Farm on Thursday, May 25, as they spruced up some farm stands.

Under the guidance of teachers Bettina Varotta and Jennifer Astrab, and inspired by images found online, the students painted signs featuring leafy vegetables, organic butternut squash and other items available at Hilltop’s farm stands. The students also incorporated their own flair into the signs.

During the paint session, farm staff picked up the paint, provided pizza, water, and cookies, and the students and teachers demonstrated their art abilities.

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Rainy weather forced the students to paint inside the farm stand building. Nevertheless, the students were determined to finish their farm projects. In fact, a few students seemed disappointed with the pizza break—after two-plus hours straight of planning and painting. They asked if they could finish after lunch and the answer was a resounding yes. A total of 12 signs were completely finished by 1 p.m.

The original plan was to have students paint some farm signs in the morning, and the students would then paint their own works in the afternoon, using the 187-acre idyllic setting as their background. However, the rainy weather and the extra time needed to complete the farm stand signs stopped that plan.

Varotta and Astrab intend to return to Hilltop Hanover Farm with their art students. Next time, they will be able to paint—based upon the teachers’ suggestion—signs that have already been sketched by the students. The farm staff will provide a concept of a farm sign or “Farm Fest” sign, for example, and then the students will run with it. This more efficient approach will allow the students more time to work on their own projects.

This visit by the art students is just the beginning of Hilltop Hanover Farm and Yorktown High School developing mutually beneficial programs. In fact, a pair of teacher Emily Kluga’s music students—flutists Jasmine Laber and Victoria Vespucci—played at the Hilltop’s “Farm Fest” on Saturday, June 3. Additionally, high school Principal Joseph DeGennaro will visit the farm in July to discuss ways in which Hilltop Hanover Farm and Yorktown High School can work together.

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