Chester Rising:

A Celebration of Chester from its Historic Past to a Brilliant New Future

Saturday, May 19th 2018

The Chester Charter School for the Arts

Your contribution at any level goes far in building strong arts-integrated programming for CCSA scholars to grow and thrive.

Make a donation to Chester Rising.

Unable to attend the event? Your contribution at any level goes far in building strong arts-integrated programming for CCSA scholars to grow and thrive. Make a donation to Chester Rising.

Chester’s Waterfront Envisioned in Watercolors

In Grade 2 Social Studies class, CCSA students study natural resources and how they impact a community. This year, the students focused on Chester and its waterfront – once a bustling center for industry in the region. The students took a trip to the waterfront and made observational sketches. They then used those sketches to create paintings with watercolor and pastels – a multi-step process requiring practice and craftsmanship.

“Dear Dr. King”: First Grade Scholars Correspond with their Past

At the beginning of every year, CCSA first graders examine the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his many ties to Chester. They learn, for example, that Dr. King attended seminary at Crozer Theological Seminary, and that he studied under a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church (where there is now a mural celebrating Dr. King’s dream).

As they discuss Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the students are encouraged to share their own hopes and dreams for themselves, their families, their community and the world. They write personal notes to Dr. King, expressing what is on their minds and thanking him for spreading his message of peace.

The Art of Storytelling: Portraits of Chester

At CCSA, students are encouraged to explore the past in order to understand the present and shape the future. As our fifth grade students learned, storytelling is a powerful way to share the lessons and experiences of one generation to the next. These students conducted interviews with long-time Chester residents, asking about what it was like to grow up in Chester, and what their dreams are for the City’s future. Many of the interviewees were members of CCSA’s Safe Corridors Team, and were happy to share their stories with our children. The students used the interviews to write biographies of the interviewees. Under the guidance of teaching artist Kelly Nicholson, from the Community Arts Center in Wallingford, they then drew portraits of the community residents to accompany the biographies.

A German Expressionist Take on an Iconic Chester Structure

Through an art studio window, CCSA middle school Visual Art students have a framed view of an iconic structure – The Commodore Barry Bridge. The local bridge is an indelible part of the Chester cityscape. It is everywhere. For CCSA students, the bridge is an image of progress and connection for a struggling city.

As part of their Chester Rising curriculum, the middle schoolers used German Expressionist linoleum printing to illustrate this important symbol in their own backyards. Linoleum printing, a version of woodblock printing, is a coarse, bold medium. It was used in the early 20th century to make emotional social commentary, especially regarding urbanization. As with photographs, prints lend themselves to images with dramatic cropping. Architectural views are especially apropos, with grid-like lines creating structure and diagonals producing a dynamic movement throughout a composition.

Expressions of Everyday Experience as Voiced by Middle School Scholars

In their Language Arts class, our middle school (sixth, seventh, and eighth) scholars spent a month working on a poetry unit built around the theme of Chester Rising. As they learned about the varying structures, styles, and conventions of poetry, they used the city of Chester as source material for their creative writing. They read and analyzed model texts daily that demonstrated a characteristic of poetry (alliteration, imagery, hyperbole, metaphor, figurative language, etc.). Reflecting on their life experiences, middle schoolers practiced applying poetic devices in their own poetry with Chester as the subject. The Visual Art majors then took their poems to their art class to create a work of art combining text from their poems with images to complement the words. Text and image together capture a deeper representation of the feelings and moods that go with living in present day Chester.

Chester Redevelopment Project: High School

The Future Lights of Chester

ink, marker and acrylic
Tamia Davis, grade 11
Sixth Year Visual Arts Major

We went on a tour of Chester to learn about some of the redevelopment projects taking place in Chester. As we walked, we had the opportunity to photograph the landscape and I was inspired by Chester Creek. Mr. Read, my Visual Arts teacher, and I talked about how Chester Creek could be redeveloped for residents to enjoy: kayaking, going on dates, enjoying nature, fishing.

Within my art piece, the yellow along the river represents light. Chester needs light. To me, the light symbolizes positivity. I hope people who see my painting will imagine Chester’s future as positive and bright.

Layers of Chester

Isaiah Johnson, grade 10
Fifth Year Visual Arts Major

Underneath what you see, I have painted multiple layers of the same view. There were certain colors I knew I wanted in the painting and so I kept layering the paint until the color was how I envisioned it in my head. The water has three or four layers; the bush has three layers; the sky has eight layers. This is not my typical style. I was experimenting with a different paint medium that let me layer so the colors are more transparent. My painting of the waterfront in Chester is very graphic with clean lines and very little detail. I was purposeful in how I painted this piece in order to show a newer, cleaner version of future Chester.

Collage of Chester

watercolor and acrylic
Dikya Freeman, grade 9
Fourth Year Visual Arts Major

The element of art I focused on for this painting was SHAPE. You can easily identify the three Chester sites within my painting because of their unique shape.

Visitors to Chester often come from the direction of Talen Stadium and so they are immediately confronted with the Commodore Barry Bridge. The lines of the Bridge are balanced, but not symmetrical, which stood out to me.

As a Chester resident, I believe one of the most distinct buildings is J. Lewis Crozer Library. Coming from a city that is predominantly black, libraries are important to our culture because our ancestors were not given equal opportunities to learn to read. We now have the opportunity to visit a library within our own city, borrow and expand our knowledge through books.

When we went on the redevelopment tour of Chester, I was drawn to the brown brick building with a little field near Overtown because of the triangular zig-zag roofline. That building has been there for as long as I can remember. I envision that the community could come together to transform the field in the front of buildings like the one pictured here to create a flower garden. To me this symbolizes the growing future of Chester.

The Heart of Hearts of Chester

cane wood and cellophane
Alaijah Pharr, grade 10
Fifth Year Visual Arts Major

I love the idea of transforming and beautifying a city by inviting artists to create and contribute public works of art. I chose to create a heart sculpture in order to represent LOVE. There is so much violence in Chester and when people see my sculpture, I want them to feel peace. My heart will remind people to be kinder to each other. Chester needs to be brightened up, physically and emotionally. If all the artists in Chester could put their own creative twist on a heart sculpture, this would bring life and light to our city. I was inspired by the way in which light shines through stained glass and reflects a blending of colors. Art can help make Chester a brighter place to live.

Stained Glass Windows in Chester

pen and acrylic
Akeem Taylor, grade 10
Fifth Year Visual Arts Major

I think many people living outside of Chester imagine the city to be full of old, deteriorating, and abandoned buildings. While taking a walking tour of downtown Chester, I noticed that the buildings actually have interesting and unique design elements. The building I chose to photograph and use as my subject is an abandoned building close to the main business district downtown. I was drawn to the shape of the arches and the architectural detail within the roof and trim. As an artist, after completing this project, I now appreciate the architecture in Chester more. In this painting, I added stained glass to the boarded up windows to bring color and light to Overtown. Artists can help make old Chester fresh and new again.

Chester Redevelopment Project: George Rothacker

At Mill Street

Typical of many streets in Chester, this block adjacent to Mill Street is mostly vacant of stores, offices and residences. When the high school students of Chester Charter School for the Arts were asked what they would like to see in their neighborhoods, they selected several branded shops and eateries that at this point do not exist near their homes. One student saw the large building towards the right and envisioned a boxing venue and training facility, another student wanted a music store, and another wanted a place where he could buy athletic equipment. The concept was to repurpose spaces in the City rather than tear buildings down and start anew.

Route 13

This block of homes along Route 13 is representative of many rows of housing disconnected by empty and abandoned spaces in the City. Working with the CCSA high school students, the street was cosmetically unified and transformed with the use of Adobe Photoshop to include
a large park with playground equipment to the left, a children’s boutique on the right corner, a fenced-off garden area with trees, new facades that included window boxes, and colorful doorways. A new corporate center appears in the background as a prelude to opportunities for the residents of Chester City.

Presenting Sponsors


Rich and Pam Merriman

Nathan Speare Foundation

Gold Sponsors

Andrew Hohns, Mariner Investment Group

Latsha Davis & McKenna

Joanne and Gary Markman

A. Morris Williams, Jr.

Pennsylvania Trust

George and Barbara Rothacker

Rothacker Advertising & Design

Rothacker Advertising & Design
Latsha Davis & McKenna, Attorneys at Law
Pennsylvania Trust

Premier Sponsors


BSI Construction, LLC

Donald and Cordelia Delson

Ellen and Ed Hanway

Barbara Klock and Salem Shuchman

Eric and Jacqueline Kraeutler

Judy and Peter Leone

Lintons Food Service Management

James J. McEntee, III and Linda McEntee

Northstar Owners Representation

Northstar Museums and Education

Drew and Paula Schmidt


NorthStar Owners Representation
NorthStar Museums and Education
BSI Construction
Lintons Food Service Management

Signature Sponsors

Rev. Gene and Mrs. Jean Bay

Christine and Leif Beck

Corliss and Clayton Boggs

Leslie and Al Boris

The Charles Boone Houston and Howard Hathaway Houston Fund

Peggy and Alan Brick

Charter Choices, Inc.

Cherokee Construction

The Darlin Family Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation

Polly and Norman Edmonson

Wendy and Jim Emrich

The Foundation for Delaware County

Joanne and William Hanna

Patricia and David Holveck

KCBA Architects

Brendan H. Kelley

Lillian Kraemer

Meridian Bank

Congregation Ohev Shalom

Louise and Alan Reed

Abigail and Dave Rowley

Elaine and David Singleton

Julia and Guy Welbon

Charter Choices
The Foundation for Delaware County
Cherokee Construction
Meridian Bank
KCBA Architects

A Recognition of Strong Leadership

Our distinguished event honorees, Don Delson and Jay McEntee, exemplify CCSA’s goal for its graduates – to be creative thinkers with purpose, passion, and character. Don, as chair of the CCSA Board, drove the creation of CCSA’s new campus. Jay, as chair of The Chester Fund Board, through his steady, effective leadership, raised equity for the new campus.

We look forward to publicly recognizing Don and Jay for their extraordinary contributions to CCSA.

Jay McEntee
Jay McEntee, Chair of the Board, The Chester Fund for Education and the Arts
Don Delson
Don Delson, Chair of the Board, Chester Charter School for the Arts

Chester Rising Event Committee


Barbara Klock

Rich Merriman

George Rothacker

Morgan Baird
Susan Bartels
Jean Bay
Corliss Boggs
Leslie Boris

Bruce Brown
Betty Ann Flynn
Joanne Markman
Robert N. Speare

The Chester Fund for Education & the Arts supports Chester Charter Scholars Academy (CCSA), an arts-integrated, academically rigorous, non-profit public charter school in the Chester Upland School District.
EIN/Tax ID: 20-3297449

Chester Charter Scholars Academy seal logo Chester Charter Scholars Academy prepares children to employ their intellectual and creative powers to enrich their community.

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