St. Mary’s Institute students stuck on art

St. Mary’s Institute fourth graders with Sticker Mule Supervisor John Fox on a tour of Sticker Mule's Elk Street factory in Amsterdam on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

St. Mary’s Institute fourth graders with Sticker Mule Supervisor John Fox on a tour of Sticker Mule's Elk Street factory in Amsterdam on Wednesday, May 25, 2022.

AMSTERDAM — Fourth grader Lucy Marvain has always been interested in becoming a professional artist someday and when her artwork was selected to be turned into a sticker she developed the confidence to pursue her dream.

“Now I feel more like I can do that,” Marvain said. “I was really surprised, I thought they were going to say somebody else’s name.”

Students at St. Mary’s Institute in Amsterdam submitted a variety of handmade artwork for the chance to have their design selected to be printed on a sticker in a contest organized by art teacher Sal Fringo in collaboration with Sticker Mule.

As a former SMI student himself, Fringo tries to develop lessons that would have been fun and engaging to him as a kid. He knew giving his students in third through eighth grade the chance to have their artwork turned into a professionally printed sticker would be a hit.

“Our prize boxes are always filled with stickers,” Fringo said.

Sticker Mule was immediately on board when Fringo reached out with the idea and agreed to print the selected sticker and provide a tour of the Elk Street factory where stickers are born for the entire class of the winning student.

Students created a huge assortment of fantastic designs, according to Fringo, who said what set apart Marvain’s near perfect recreation from memory of cartoon character Bart Simpson was how perfectly it fit the assignment.

“She had very clear cut lines that I knew would translate well to a sticker,” Fringo said. “Other submissions were fantastic, but would be better maybe if they turned it into a comic book or a painting.”

With a sticker of her own creation in-hand, Marvain and 11 classmates learned how stickers are made from beginning to end at Sticker Mule on Wednesday.

The kids were ushered from station to station around the first floor of the factory to see designs being received digitally, sent to printers, cut out and finally packaged for delivery.

All around the massive space the students saw the manufacturing of a huge variety of stickers of all shapes, sizes, colors and graphics.

The kids were awestruck by the the production of an assortment of stickers, from a colorful iced doughnut larger than their heads to Sticker Mule’s own insignia that fit in their hands.

The tour served as a practical example of graphic design work that the kids could one day be involved in creating if they pursue careers in art.

“I think it gives them encouragement seeing that not all artwork has to be the same,” Fringo said. “This is something that will stick with them for a while, pun intended.”

Marvain is already brainstorming ideas for her future creative career that may one day see her making a comic book about female superheroes. She hasn’t decided on her characters’ abilities yet, but she can feel her own artistic power after winning the sticker contest.

“It makes me feel more important,” Marvain said.

Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.

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