Animation artist Karen Aqua, who guided Creekview Elementary School students in the production of an award-winning film about Nine Mile Canyon, died May 30 in a Boston hospital. She was 57.
Aqua and her husband, musician Ken Field, spent months with the young people as "artists in residence" at the school. She taught them the painstaking process of drawing, positioning and single-frame photography animation, a job that requires 24 frames for every second of film. Field worked with the youngsters on composing music and adding sound effects and narration.
The project included an excursion into the canyon, where students learned about the geologic, prehistoric and historic features they incorporated into the production.
"Nine Mile Canyon: Under Construction," had its world premiere at the Crown Theater in Price, playing to a packed house. The film has won international film awards since then, according to Field.
Aqua produced 11 independent animated films and one collaborative video/animation feature. Her work won acclaim at film festivals around the world. She also served as a juror for international film competitions. Her animation art also appeared on segments of "Sesame Street."
Aqua earned her bachelor's degree in illustration with a focus on animation from the Rhode Island School of Design, and later taught Boston College and Emerson College.