TJ Arts proudly announces the winning artist for a large-scale artwork commissioned for the rebuilt Thomas Jefferson High School. After a one-year search, on March 31, 2018, Dennis Stocke was selected from a field of 27 applicants. Mr. Stocke is an art teacher for the Upper Saint Clair School District and a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania.
Mr. Stocke began his teaching career at Thomas Jefferson High School as a student teacher. He says, “I would find great personal reward in being able to leave my artistic mark in the district.”
The subject of the artwork is the third President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson, the namesake of the school. The mural-sized artwork will greet students, teachers, staff, residents and visitors as they enter the main atrium of the school; as such, it will be the artistic signature of the new building. The finished product will span the bulkhead of the atrium, measuring approximately 42 feet wide by 6 feet high.
The artwork will be unveiled at the Grand Opening of the new school in the coming year. Superintendent Dr. Michael Ghilani says the selection process was “extremely competitive. We are so excited for the students, teachers, and community to see the piece that was chosen that will be the centerpiece of the building for many years to come.”
The selection committee was comprised of TJ Arts Board Members, WJHSD administrators and staff, professional artists, and community residents. Executive Director of TJ Arts, Karen Suszynski, says, “TJ Arts is pleased to make this gift to the new school as a statement of the importance of arts in the education of every child. The final choice will make an appropriate visionary and dramatic statement for Thomas Jefferson High School.” This commission is completely supported through donations made to TJ Arts by individuals and institutions.