LEAF's Umbrella Project to be on display at Great Lakes Mall

Feb. 25—The Lake/Geauga Educational Assistance Foundation Umbrella Project will be on display at the Great Lakes Mall from March 16 to April 16.

These artistic creations are the designs of art students from eight local high schools and represent their interpretation of one of this year's Umbrella Project themes: nature, favorite places, favorite pastimes, peacemaking/bridge-building, and how technology unites people, according to a news release.

Each umbrella is created by a high school student and entered into a contest for scholarship dollars. Local engineering students create the apparatus for hanging the umbrellas at the Mentor mall and are also eligible for scholarships.

This year, there were more than 50 entries from Aurora, Berkshire, Fairport Harding, iSTEM, Madison, Mentor, Riverside and Willoughby South high schools.

The LEAF Umbrella Project will culminate in the "Singing in the Rain" live benefit umbrella auction from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., April 29 at the mall between Round One and Dick's Sporting Goods.

The top 25 student-designed umbrellas, along with those created by local art professionals and celebrity participants, will be showcased for the public to purchase. Everyone is invited to bid on an umbrella, and the proceeds benefit LEAF's programs, the release stated.

"These works of art are absolutely amazing and represent talented high school artists," LEAF Executive Director Patricia Egan stated in the release.

Students work with their art teacher to design a theme on a plain, white umbrella using waterproof markets. Their submissions are then judged by community volunteer artists, who engage in a two-tier judging system based on specific criteria to win college scholarships.

The display of these uniquely designed umbrellas would not be possible without the work of the high school engineering students at Excel TECC and Lakeshore Compact, two local career technical consortiums, the release noted.

The CAD/engineering students designed and engineered the umbrella display apparatus that will be installed throughout the mall. The engineering judging is conducted by local engineers, using a rubric that addresses various aspects of designing the umbrella-hanging apparatus.