A new college scholarship was recently established in memory of fabric-collage artist Laura Breitman to benefit a Warwick Valley High School (WVHS) student pursuing a degree in art. The $1,000 scholarship award was presented to the school’s art department and WVHS Principal Dr. Larry Washington on Fri., Mar. 22 by Michael Needleman, husband and fellow artist to the late Laura Breitman.
WVHS art teacher Kristen Spano hosted an exhibit of Laura Breitman’s work in her classroom on the same day as a complement to a unit on multi-media collage. Mr. Needleman introduced the students to Breitman’s artistic vision and technique.
Painting? Collage? Photograph? Something of all three. Laura Breitman’s collage work starts with a photograph but slowly morphs into a vivid, 3D-like illusion, as she recreates the image with countless bits of fabric, laid down like layers of paint on a canvas.
“It takes a lot of patience,” Mr. Needleman said. “You can’t rush through stuff like this. And it takes concentration. When Laura was working, nothing else existed.”
Junior Matthew Poka, who has taken every art and art history course available to him at WVHS is now a student in the portfolio course. His favorite Breitman piece was a depiction of lily pads.
“They’re like an architectural design,” Matthew said. “She shows such an understanding of what she’s looking at and she conveys so much with so little.”
In addition to the memorial scholarship, Michael Needleman donated Laura Breitman’s fabric collection to the art department.