It's not easy posing for a statue when you're seven years old and 15 minutes seems like forever.
"It's hard when you have to stand still," said Brandi Vest, a model for Park Elementary School's sculpture, "Friendship," depicting a boy and girl holding hands. She and another girl, Sarah Schultz, share duty as models of the girl.
But lest one should think it's all hard work, Brandi said, it isn't. "It's fun because you can do stuff. You can get to stand on the table," the second-grader said.
Susan Luery, a Baltimore-born sculptor in the state's artist-in-residence program, is re-creating Brandi's likeness, along with fellow student Marty Jameson, in terra cotta clay at the Brooklyn Park school.
The idea for the sculpture came in the fall, when Park Elementary Principal Diane Lenzi saw a mural during a visit to Windsor Farms Elementary School.
The principal there told her the school was able to do the mural through the resident-artist program run by the Maryland State Arts Council.
Impressed, Ms. Lenzi resolved to do something similar with her students and contacted the council.
In October, the council awarded Park Elementary $2,700. The school's Parent Teacher Organization chipped in another $900. And on Nov. 5, Ms. Luery, who once created a clay statue of Babe Ruth that's on permanent display at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., began work.
As did the student models, photographers, journalists, sketch artists and videographers who either are helping the artist or documenting the creation of their work of art.
"They're real proud of what they're doing," said Ms. Lenzi.
Originally, adults had thought of doing a sculpture entitled The -- Reading Teacher or The Reading Parent.
But the students didn't like those ideas, Ms. Lenzi said.
Since the school's first-graders are in a class focusing on friendship, the students felt something revolving around that theme would be better, Ms. Lenzi said.
Which worked out fine, she noted, because "one of our school objectives this year is to promote responsibility and courtesy between boys and girls."
So the students, asked to draw sketches of what they thought friendship was, mostly drew pictures of a boy and girl holding hands. The design for their sculpture was born.
Ms. Luery works on the sculpture two days a week during the morning.
Her two-month stint at the school ends this month.
The sculpture "introduces children to the arts and gives them the opportunity to see how a sculpturist works," said Ms. Luery, whose sculpture, "The Passage," depicting a woman reading to a child, sits on the lawn of the Towson courthouse.
Working with Ms. Luery on the sculpture also introduced the students to a new vocabulary. Words like armature, perspective and symmetry. Not easy words for youngsters, but words they gradually came to understand as they saw examples of them, said Barbara Przybyszewski, the school's art teacher.
School officials said they hope to display the sculpture in the foyer of their new school building, which could be built in back of the old one in about three years if state funding can be secured, Ms. Lenzi said.