Rio Norte Junior High School students present final art project with retiring teacher
A plain wall transformed with creative and colorful artwork depicting ideas of change, new life and new beginning by young artists – that was the goal of retiring art teacher Daryl Bibicoff.
Rio Norte Junior High School students along with their teacher Bibicoff hosted an art reception at Westfield Valencia Town Center’s Community Art Wall for an exhibit of their work. Students ages 12 to 14 created smaller art pieces and surreal large art panels in groups.
According to Bibicoff, the project was completed in a month. It also required students to critically and collectively think in ways to engage the observer.
“The approach to was to expose them [students] to a creative process,” Bibicoff said. “And create art that doesn’t have to fit into a mold.”
Bibicoff, who has been an art teacher for about 30 years, with six of those years in the William S. Hart Union High School District, said there’s not enough art that does not fit into a mold in the community. So, he gave his students an art project that would help them develop artwork that speaks to that nature.
He had his students study street art and put them into groups to create 2.5- by 5-foot vertical panels.
“When you’re going to collaborate in your groups, you’re going to problem solve, troubleshoot and that’s all part of the creative process,” Bibicoff said. “You’re going to come up with something that is, what you feel is, what street art would look like.”
Bibicoff said he’s proud of what his students created and the direction they took in their respective artworks.
“If you give people the space, they’ll come through with quality, creative and beautiful work,” Bibicoff said. “There’s nothing to be afraid of because the work will stand alone and blow people away.”
Bennet Pauer, 13, was with his mother Anissa admiring his artwork on the Community Art Wall. Bennet worked with watercolors and other paint to create his work.
Bennet said he was happy with the outcome of his work. He started making art less than a year ago, and his mother could not have been any prouder, too.
Kaela Martinez, a student, talked about her vertical panel, which she created with two other classmates.
“We made something to represent starting a new chapter in life, especially after the pandemic,” Martinez said. “It’s kind of like starting fresh or starting to make yourself better. And all the colors represent having a positive outlook.”
Bibicoff is retiring this month. This art project and reception was one of his final projects with his students at Rio Norte Junior High School.
Students said they would miss him.
Bibicoff said he hopes he passed on an important lesson to his students throughout his years of teaching: “Do not fear people that try to keep them trapped or constrained and to work creatively with others in a positive light. To create art, especially large pieces…”