Norridge teacher brings art to industrial arts
Teacher Charles Heinrich works with fifth grade students (from left) Dino Kalamperovic and Sebastian Radziszewski as they make wooden dinosaurs at Leigh School during industrial arts class. | Jerry Daliege~for Sun-Times Media
Updated: November 19, 2012 1:17PM
NORRIDGE — Industrial arts classes aren’t what they used to be.
“It used to be more industrial-based, like making bookends,” said Charles Heinrich, who teaches industrial arts, as well as art classes, at Leigh Grammar School in Norridge.
Students work on seasonal projects, this month being wooden skeletons.
“And then they have to dress them,” Heinrich said.
What hasn’t changed in industrial arts classes is teaching students how to use tools safely.
“Classes are just more art-related,” Heinrich said.
The artist is a graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago. Heinrich’s favorite teacher was Jim Bushness.
“He was the best teacher I ever had,” Heinrich said. “He was inspirational.”
Heinrich started out teaching, and then had a studio.
“It burnt to the ground,” he said. “I lost everything.”
Heinrich turned to creating props for studios, movies and advertising projects.
Not content with that, he went on the road looking for folk art to display in studios at Armitage and Sheffield avenues and at Dickens and Damen avenues.
“I would drive all around, looking for the guys who were still making things in their barns,” Heinrich said.
Filling his galleries was a seven-day-a-week project, so he decided to switch gears.
“The most fun I ever had was teaching,” Heinrich admitted. “That’s why I came back.”