Columbus Signature Academy – Fodrea students are displaying their newfound knowledge about local architecture through art.

The school’s library has been transformed into a mini art gallery for 50 third-grade students, who went on a city architecture tour in early November.

Students wanted to present an art show and decided to focus on architecture, said Raven Chandler, a third-grade teacher, who collaborated with fellow third-grade teacher Lauren Pherson.

“I am blessed to have an amazing group of third-graders full of heart,” Chandler said.

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Fifty students received some help in painting their artwork at the school Nov. 29. Students featured Columbus architecture in the background of their paintings, while being instructed by Melissa Reardon and Jaime Mustaine, owner of Tri State Artisans.

The students’ canvas featured an outline of the state of Indiana and included silhouetted images of Columbus’ architecture at sites including First Christian Church and others.

Each student also received a letter “C” to refer to Columbus and could choose which architectural sites they wanted to include, ranging from the Robert N. Stewart Bridge to the Miller House and Garden.

Third-grader Zander Taylor said he enjoyed being able to learn about architecture while being creative.

“I like how we got to blend all the architecture details,” Taylor said.

Mustaine said the purpose of the event was to help students develop a better understanding of art and commended students for their efforts in creating their own pieces of art, which will eventually be taken home to be given as gifts for the holidays.

“It’s exposure for the arts,” Mustaine said. “A lot of them have never had the experience. We don’t want to make it about the end result, but the journey to get there.”

Taylor’s classmate, Makenzie Oliver, included images of the Miller House and Zaharakos, a longtime ice cream parlor in downtown Columbus, as part of her artwork. Those sites are among her favorites in the city, she added.

“It’s a good learning experience for me to paint,” Oliver said.

But for students such as Connor Gallion, architecture remains an important identity of Columbus. He said he particularly enjoyed seeing some of the pieces tied to Exhibit Columbus and noted that “Conversation Plinth” at the Bartholomew County Public Library was among his favorites.

Gallion said he hopes some of the exhibits will remain permanently.

“Columbus is a landmark for architecture,” Gallion said.

About Tri State Artisans

Tri State Artisans is located at 422 Washington St. It offers art classes, workshops, camps and other events to the public.

More information: or call 812-528-5748.

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Matt Kent is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at 812-379-5712 or