Members of the Bower Hill Beautification Committee had an idea for their Peters Township elementary school.

“They contacted me about if we could do a project on their parking lot, and one of the teachers sketched out ideas,” artist Silvi Labovitz said. “We said yes. And then COVID came, so we couldn’t do it.”

It took a year, but finally the owner of the Bethel Park art studio Fox In a Box was able to fulfill the committee’s wishes.

Joined by Jeremy Labovitz, her son, and Fox In a Box artist Kerry Craig, Silvi transformed the driveway in front of the school into a series of colorful activity stations, including hopscotch and foursquare courts, and a map of the continental United States.

“It came out awesome, and the kids love it,” she said. “I get emails every day from parents, how they love it.”

Bower Hill staff members Maria Piatt, Tammi Hanak, Brent Killen and Nicole McAfoose combined beautification efforts with the school’s PTA to create healthy outdoor activities for students.

Labovitz, who lives in Peters Township, has conducted numerous afterschool and summer camp programs in the area. Her latest endeavor is an art party bus, converting one of the sizable vehicles to what will be pretty much of a portable studio, ready to travel for birthday parties, community days and other special events.

When she had to close her studio temporarily in March 2020, Labovitz came up with the idea of an “art box,” featuring brushes, themed stickers and various colors of paint, plus a tasty cookie to decorate. Also, she conducted art classes online until she was able to welcome guests back to her spacious McMurray Road location.

“I think we’re kind of back to normal,” she said. “We survived. That’s one thing, for sure.”

A native of Switzerland, Labovitz received her formal art training at the Neue Kunstschule in Zurich. She is experienced in a variety of genres, including acrylics, watercolors, oils, pencil, portraits, collage, sculpture, knitting and sewing.

She moved to the United States in 2005, and in 2009 – with the encouragement of her husband, Larry – she decided to open what at first was called Silvi’s Little Artists.

Her studio has been at its current location, at McMurray and Clifton roads, for five years.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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