City art school teacher provides extra sparkle for students with special needs

Mar 8, 2019

A school art teacher can provide inspiration in enhancing a child's creativity.  But for students with special needs, it provides a deeper layer in their classroom learning. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley takes us inside Buffalo Public School #84 - Health Care Center for Children at ECMC.

Artwork by Students with special needs at School 84.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

School 84 students have a variety of needs from physical, cognitive and multiple disabilities. The school is exclusively for students with special needs. It's a diverse population of more than 200 students from kindergarten through 21-years of age.

Art teacher Amber Lorenz says art work adds excitement to her students learning.

“They have a lot of enthusiasm and excitement when they come in my room. I try to find artists that I think they would be interested in or gravitate to,” Lorenz explained.   

Lorenz has been busy preparing a showcase of the students’ artwork in the school hallway. She uses nationally known artists to inspire her students in creating their artwork, Robert Indiana, the now deceased artist, who created the famous LOVE exhibit. 

Art teacher Amber Lorenz proudly stands in front of student artwork.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“His exhibit was at the Albright recently. He recently passed away in May of last year. Buffalo has one of his ‘number’ sculptures, so that was where we sort of bounced off the idea of using numbers and creating these 3-D sculptures, and they love this artist Yayoi Kusama – we’ve done her before. She’s also has had work at the Albright. She is, herself, somebody that struggles with mental illness and she’s, I believe 92 years old. She’s a famous contemporary artist and she makes these pumpkin sculptures,” Lorenz remarked

“How ‘bout we paint the guitar from coco,” a student declared next to the hallway art exhibit.

Student artwork inspired by national artist Yayoi Kusama.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Lorenz is very popular as she stands in the hallway. Here students are excited to see her and tell us about how much they enjoy her class in creating their own artwork.

“I love it. I love art!” another student replied. 

“This was actually one of my most favorite projects to do so far this year and maybe within the last couple of years – I feel like this is one of my favorites,” reflected Lorenz. 

Lorenz is working on plans to collaborate over the summer with the outreach leader at the Albright Knox Art Gallery as well as other gallery artist to work on creating new teaching units to take back into her classroom.