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Students create virtual art gallery on the Internet

(ran EO edition)

A group of East Lake High School students has found a way to combine a love of art with an interest in the Internet. They are creating a virtual art gallery to display their works and those of other aspiring artists at the school.

The project began last fall, when art teacher Pat Priscoe got together with one of her former students, Arsen Brzostek, who is now a graphic artist and Web page designer. The two were trying to come up with ways to introduce Web page design to art students. The idea of encouraging them to create their own site seemed like a natural fit.

"I'd say 95 percent of the art schools don't prepare their students for Web design," said Brzostek, who is consulting on the project. "This is a way for these students to get a leg up in the business world."

Priscoe applied for grant money from the school's Student Advisory Council and also from the Junior League of Clearwater/Dunedin. The organizations granted her $1,600 to purchase state-of-the-art software and pay for consulting services.

Priscoe then approached students in her advanced computer graphics class to see whether they would be interested in pursuing the idea of a Web site.

"We talked about it and decided it would be a great way to display the talent of East Lake art students," said Pete Christianson, 18.

The seven computer graphic students working on the Web page each spend about eight hours a week on the project.

They developed a four-point scale for rating each piece of artwork submitted. Those they deem appropriate for the site are imported using a digital camera and scanner. The Web page is divided into various art forms with a different button for each media.

Although the Web page is not on the Internet yet, the students expect it to be operational by the end of the school year.

"It has been a time-consuming project," said Matt Santucci, 19. "There has been a lot of trial and error."

Priscoe said the project has been a learning experience for both her and the students.

"A lot of things are falling into place quickly now," she said. "At first they were totally baffled, but now they are totally self-directed."

An Internet address has not yet been assigned to the site, Priscoe said, but when it is up, people will be able to link to the site through the Dunedin Fine Art Center's Web site at

_ If you have news or photos about East Lake schools, churches, businesses, neighborhood groups, community organizations or people, contact Julie Church at the North Pinellas Times. You can call her at (727) 445-4229, e-mail material to her at or mail material to North Pinellas Times, 34342 U.S. 19 N, Palm Harbor, FL 34684.