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Hanging on the wall next to her classmates’ art projects is Toriana Taylor’s painting titled, “The Terrible Accident.” Splashed across the small canvass in different colors are images of money and a clothing company’s logo.

Taylor, a freshman at the Proviso Math and Science Academy, pointed to one image within the painting and then sheepishly revealed the meaning of her work.

“This is my heart,” Taylor said. “I love spending money.”

The terrible accident Taylor is depicting was the day she took her mother’s credit card and went on a shopping spree. The vehicle for revealing this little chapter of her life–and the punishment that followed-was an art class at the academy, which held its first showcase of student paintings and performances on Friday evening.

Parents and members of the public were invited to wander through two floors of the Forest Park school for several hours last week where paintings, sketches, sculptures and performances were on display. Each of the different works represents a classroom assignment.

Alfred Calima, another freshman at PMSA, was very proud of his serpent sculpture. He coiled the snake’s body around a small handmade jug and explained the animal is protecting the contents within the container. The snake is powerful, he said, and is defending a worthy treasure.

“My mom,” Calima said, of the jug’s invaluable contents. “Without her I wouldn’t be here.”

In addition to the artwork hanging on the walls and sitting in glass cases, students performed short skits, spoken word poetry and dance routines, all of which they wrote. At different viewing stations were video documentary projects the teens worked on in class.

“I wanted to have the students write original pieces so they could express themselves,” teacher Mary Scherer-Emunds said. “We’re a math and science academy but we also feel the arts are very important.”