Every year, Providence Academy sends members of its community a Christmas card, with its cover designed by an 11th grade art student who shows promising skill and a true love of Christ. This year Marie Heyda, ’23, with the support of PA Art Teacher Christopher Santer, created a beautiful painting that adorns the front of the card.
This year, the image is a water color of the front of the school during the holiday season, with the iconic Christmas tree at the center, lighting the way of Christ. The picture portrays snow covering the building, beautifully reflecting the light from the windows out into the world.
Santer has commissioned a student to create the cover art for the last ten years and explained, “When it comes to choosing the scene the artwork has varied throughout the years. It has been a wide range from a painting of poinsettias with a quote, to Mother and Child imagery, angels, the glow of Bethlehem, etc. Various media are used but most often pencil and watercolor.”
Santer always asks a junior, in studio art classes, to create the image because seniors tend to be busier with college applications or the many demands of Honors Art. The juniors, though, demonstrate the required knowledge of and experience with art to create a beautiful card for every PA family to see.
The card’s student artist is not only responsible for deciding upon the image for the cover but also for creating it, and Santer gives them the liberty to choose whatever Providence related Christmas theme they want.
Heyda described her process saying, “I had a few different ideas but I really like the Providence scene.”
Heyda decided to use pen and watercolor to portray the beautiful landscape, as it captures the true beauty of Providence Academy at Christmas time.
Last year’s artist, Elle Wiederholt ‘22 said, “Having Mr. Santer choose me was a great boost of confidence. I also learned what it is like to create a ‘commissioned’ piece of art on a deadline! I chose to paint a scene depicting the night sky and the star above Bethlehem. I used the quote, ‘A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices’ in the painting because I felt that, in the especially weary year of 2020, we all needed the light of Christ.”
The chance to create something for the entire community has proven to be a positive experience for the student artists. Santer added, “It certainly makes the cards more directly reflecting our school and the students here. It is a tradition I hope will continue indefinitely. It is far more meaningful and personal than a commercial card that the school could buy.”
Indeed, this special tradition certainly creates a more memorable holiday greeting and also provides a student with a terrific opportunity.