Art students unveiled sculptures they’ve created to adorn the school’s labyrinth.
CAPE MAY COURT HOUSE – Middle Township High School (MTHS) art students officially unveiled sculptures they’ve created to adorn the school’s labyrinth, a calming outdoor community place to think, reflect and decompress. The sculptures that represent each cardinal direction were conceptualized and created by MTHS art students with the help of their teacher Karen Biederman along with artist-in-residence Gail Scuderi.
Roughly 50 people attended the June 1 unveiling ceremony, including MTSD Business Administrator Dr. Diane Fox, Superintendent Dr. Salvo, and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Toni Lehman, among many others.
“I had the pleasure of joining Karen’s class to see the sculptures being created,” said Dr. Fox during her speech. “The students were engaged and enthusiastic about the project. The work they created is amazing. I especially love the ‘toad’ houses created. This is a beautiful addition to our school grounds and a place for the community to come and reflect.”
These sculptures are ultimately an enhancement of the labyrinth, which was unveiled in 2021. A labyrinth is defined as a complicated irregular network of passages or paths in which it is difficult to find one’s way. Unlike a maze, it does not seek to confuse you, but calls on visitors to focus on themselves, be present in their own thoughts and walk quietly through the paths. The initial unveiling included ceramic tiles created by students and were later interspersed in the walking circle. The new sculptures were placed in the four quadrants of the labyrinth to reflect coastal nature. Each cardinal point, North, South, East and West, are represented by each of the seasons – Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. Students worked for months on clay creations that symbolize each.
“We acknowledge and are mindful that MTHS stands on lands that were originally occupied by the first people of this area, and we recognize the Kechemeche part of the Leni Lenape nation and respect their distinctive spiritual relationship with this land and the waters that run through campus,” said Biederman during the event. “We are humbled that our campus resides upon these beautiful lands that once sustained these peoples for centuries.”
Both the labyrinth and the sculptures were made possible thanks to grants from the Artists in Education Residency Program (AIE) presented by the NJ State Council on the Arts and Young Audiences. Biederman developed the concept, created the plan, and submitted funding applications. The school won the $10,000 grant to bring her vision to life and as part of the project, Scuderi was selected to work with students. Donations, such as tiles and pavers, were also made by local businesses and residents.
“We’re grateful for our partnerships with educational and state grant programs that help us provide these opportunities for our students,” said Superintendent Dr. Salvo. “Our students have dealt with a lot of added stresses over the years. It’s great to give them an outlet and a physical space to be able to go and decompress.”