SIS art class makes art out of tragedy


Saipan International School Middle School art class students led by teacher Kathy Ruszala pose with their works of art made on Super Typhoon Yutu debris. (Contributed Photos)

Inspired by the works of a CNMI artist who turned Super Typhoon Yutu debris into works of inspirational art, an art class with the Saipan International School are painting works of art on tin sheets scattered throughout Saipan.

Following in the footsteps of artist Meena Benavente, the SIS Environmental Art Class has been doing their artwork on scattered tin roofs and displaying them in their campus.

SIS teacher Amie McRoberts told Saipan Tribune that the art class tries to make different projects focusing on recycled materials. The class recently finished a cardboard shoe challenge and was looking for a new project when Super Typhoon Yutu hit in late October 2018.

“My students were inspired by Meena Benavente’s art that she has placed all over the island,” McRoberts told Saipan Tribune. “It was the perfect project for our class.”

McRoberts teaches the class, which is mostly composed of seniors.

“I am so proud of the students and how well they worked together to complete the project. They would like to paint some more, but ran out of acrylic paint,” she said, adding that there is so much tin on the island right now. “I love how the students and Meena are making something beautiful out of the destruction and devastation on island.”

Donations of paint would be much appreciated by the class so its students can continue their project. Saipan Tribune learned over the weekend that the SIS Middle School art class, led by teacher Kathy Ruszala, is also looking to follow Benavente’s footsteps.

“…Most of our school materials, including art supplies and projects, were ruined,” said Ruszala in the aftermath of Yutu. “Using what we could salvage, we followed Meena’s footsteps and used her as our artist inspiration.”

SIS headmaster Ron Snyder is proud of the outcome. “I am proud of the creativity and innovation that our teachers and students have shown in their response to Super Typhoon Yutu,” he said. “It is really amazing how they are able to turn the devastation into works of art and a true example of how we remain gecko-strong!” The gecko is the school’s mascot.

For those interested in donating acrylic paints, McRoberts said the donations may be dropped off at the school’s office in As Lito.

Saipan International School Middle School art class students, led by teacher Kathy Ruszala, pose with their works of art made on Super Typhoon Yutu debris. (Contributed Photos)

Erwin Encinares | Reporter
Erwin Charles Tan Encinares holds a bachelor’s degree from the Chiang Kai Shek College and has covered a wide spectrum of assignments for the Saipan Tribune. Encinares is the paper’s political reporter.

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