NW group Stepping Stones lets disabled leave their mark

By Tabitha Redder/nw news editor

Photos by Haylie Jones/The Collegian  Stepping Stones student Micah Cooke places his tile along the pond between WTLO and WHPE buildings on NW Campus.

Photos by Haylie Jones/The Collegian Stepping Stones student Micah Cooke places his tile along the pond between WTLO and WHPE buildings on NW Campus.

At the art installation, student Audrey Cappelli shows off the tile project she completed in a ceramics class last semester. Each student created a sculpture out of clay.

At the art installation, student Audrey Cappelli shows off the tile project she completed in a ceramics class last semester. Each student created a sculpture out of clay.

Passers-by can see an eclectic addition to the décor around the pond between the WTLO and WHPE buildings on NW Campus courtesy of the Stepping Stones program for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Students from the program installed ceramic tile art projects they created last semester around the pond Feb. 17.

“This is their stepping stone, the steps they have left here on campus,” art adjunct instructor Chris Cunningham, who taught the ceramics class, said of the students’ projects.

The projects are clay sculptures adhered to terra cotta stones to maintain stability. The ceramics class, part of the Transitioning Arts program for Stepping Stones, gives the students a new experience.

The students first had to decide what they were going to create, implement their ideas and then wait for the sculpture to dry. They had no guidelines, continuing education instructor Shalon Reed said.

NW student Micah Cooke said his project didn’t take long to complete, but Cunningham had to repair it because it broke.

“It’s a deer because I like to draw animals,” Cooke said of his project design.

Anusak Xaysongkam, who also took the ceramics class, said he enjoyed the project but didn’t like waiting for the sculptures to dry. His inspiration for his tile was mathematics, his favorite subject.

NW student Anthony Licciardone enjoyed getting his hands dirty and working with the clay. He created a castle for his tile.

“To me, the castle is a big empire,” he said with a smile as he described his piece. “It has 1,600 rooms, four dormitories and 500 cafeterias.”

The Stepping Stones program plans to have a dance class as well as another ceramics class for the students in the future.