Frazier Student Gifted in More Ways Than One

By Harvath, Les | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, January 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Frazier Student Gifted in More Ways Than One


Harvath, Les, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


If Perryopolis residents aren't sure who Mary Fuller Frazier is, they soon will be -- and they will have an up-close and permanent look in the process.

In 1948, Frazier, the philanthropic but eccentric daughter of a prominent family, bequeathed $1.5 million to the town, and both the school district and high school bear her name.

On the outside wall of the historical, 80-plus-year-old Karolcik Theater, Frazier's picture soon will be on display. Along with George Washington, Commodore Matthew Perry, local coal mines and Washington's Grist Mill, Frazier's picture will become as much a part of the town as the name of the school.

All thanks to Frazier High School senior Jenna Boyles.

When Frazier teachers recently received a grant to create a mural at the aged theater, they asked Boyles to design it, and the project is rapidly taking shape.

Since she was a freshman, Boyles has been sketching "anything that interests" her. She keeps a sketchbook with her at all times and "they get better every year," she said.

"They are filling up quickly, and I have quite a few of them."

By word of mouth, her artistic reputation had spread. A representative from the local Moose Lodge happened to be in the school office several summers ago and discussed painting a mural on the lodge building. A school official who knew of Boyles' interest and talents gave her the information. She called the lodge and got the job.

In two months during that summer of 2005, Boyles painted a mural of an American Flag along with a moose on the outside of the lodge in Perryopolis.

Her art has become a passion.

For four years on Saturday mornings, instead of sleeping late, she has attended classes in drawing, painting and metal sculpture at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and worked with fellow art students on two collaborations with the Mattress Factory Museum in Pittsburgh.

In Scholastic Arts and Writing Awards contests, her "Spinster and Bride" -- two chairs with pantyhose, she explained, laughing -- won a regional-level Gold Key award in the Installation category, and a Silver Key in the national competition in New York City.

Her work also won an American Vision Award in 2007, in addition to a silver regional award in poetry.

"I have fun with art," Boyles said. "I hope to end up somewhere with art."

Then again, art is in her genes: her mother, Sandra, is an art teacher at Charleroi Area High School, and also teaches ceramics. Her father, Mike, works in advertising as the creative director at Education Management in Pittsburgh.

"I've always been interested in art," Boyles said. "It's always been all around me, but I became more serious about it several years ago. Now it is my career choice."

At Frazier, her class project included organizing the Art Club, and she attended the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts in the summer of 2006. …

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