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Stylishly Safe
by Jebb Johnston
Jul 10, 2013 | 47 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff photo by Jebb Johnston

Joseph Scarantino applies finishing touches to his sundial painting on the dome of a storm shelter in Farmington.
Staff photo by Jebb Johnston Joseph Scarantino applies finishing touches to his sundial painting on the dome of a storm shelter in Farmington.
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FARMINGTON — Ernestine Vugrin doesn’t just want to be safe … she wants to do it with style.

With the help of 15-year-old aspiring artist Joseph Scarantino, her newly installed storm shelter features sundial artwork that adds a little flair to the dome that now occupies part of her backyard on County Road 236.

“I like sundials,” said Vugrin. “It’s just a friendly thing to me. It was either that or a smilie face.”

She and her husband, Robert, were among the many inspired to apply for a shelter grant following the tornado disaster in Smithville. They did not receive a grant and eventually decided to install a shelter on their own.

“You hope you never have to use it, but we’ve got it,” said Vugrin.

When they visited the Corinth-Alcorn Animal Shelter during its recent open house, she was impressed with the student artwork recently painted on the walls, and that led her to seek out Scarantino to paint her storm shelter. She knew his painting would be the solution to having “just an old cellar” polluting the view from her nearby hammock.

An incoming sophomore at Alcorn Central, Scarantino logged numerous hours on the project, finishing up Tuesday morning. While enduring some summertime heat and humidity while painting on concrete for the first time, he said the biggest challenge was getting the design of the sundial’s arms consistent in appearance and evenly spaced.

Cartooning and graphic design are his main interests.

“I never had the patience to sit down and draw a tree or a person,” he said. “I never wanted to learn that. I like cartooning because I create characters and put them in my world.”

Scarantino is especially interested in animation for television and would love to someday sell a show to Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. He has already devoted much time to developing his ideas.

“I’ve worked so hard on it and I hope in the end it pays off,” he said.
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