The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 10, 2013

Lakeside High School student works on display at Ashtabula's coffee shops

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — When a student brews too much coffee while cramming for exams, he might pour the extra down the drain.

A group of Lakeside High School art students prefer to paint with it.

Lakeside High School art teacher Rhoda Wilson is showcasing two exhibits through March at Harbor Perk and e-Comm Cafe to display art rarely taught in the classroom. While most painters use mediums such as oil, pastels, acrylic or watercolor, her students are more inclined toward expresso.

“I wanted this community to see the talent of these kids,” Wilson said. “I honestly don't think people realize the extreme talent at Lakeside High School.”

The students recently won an art contest allowing them to feature their art at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Wilson then decided on a unit of study where the students used coffee as an experimental medium.

“They used monochromatic skills in sepia,” she said.

The decision on where to display the pieces was an obvious choice.  

“My students are always talking about the local coffee shops, Harbor Perk and e-Comm,” she said. “There is no better place to showcase art centered around coffee than at a coffee shop.”

While Wilson recognizes they are not the only artists painting with coffee, she hasn’t found anyone else doing it in Ashtabula.

Wilson spoke with John Ginnard (owner of e-Comm ) and Lauren Sposito (Harbor Perk) by phone and both parties liked the idea.

“The people from both shops could not have been nicer, but I must say, they were shocked when they saw the actual pieces,” Wilson said. “I don't think they knew what to expect. After Mr. Ginnard saw them he asked if I had more!”

Ginnard said the coffee paintings have a quality you don’t see in other mediums. The feel and color of coffee is something you can’t reproduce with acrylics.

The Harbor Perk has been using the walls to showcase local talent for years and was more than happy to have the students exhibit their work.   

Michelle Tisdale, who works at Harbor Perk said, “On a daily basis we have customers asking if the pieces are for sale. I must admit, they're amazing.”

Local residents can view and enjoy the artwork through March at e-Comm Cafe, 4619 Main Ave., and Harbor Perk, 1003 Bridge St., Ashtabula.