Come June, students will have a whole new dining experience during their lunch period.
That’s because the school’s cafeteria is in the process of undergoing a beautification project thanks to the leadership of art teacher Donna Farrell.
The project, which combines mosaic clay art with painted murals, began with the school’s sixth graders making a personal shield to be hung in the cafeteria entranceway. Students in grades one and up have been working to make decorative clay stars that will also be affixed to the walls.
A mural artist has been leading the students in the decorative painting of the walls in a “magical, mystical” theme that reflects the school’s mascot – a Knight, Farrell explained.
And in just a few weeks, professional artist Katia McGuirk will come to the school to help the students put up the shields and stars. The clay pieces will create a mosaic to be complimented by a variety of animals that represent wisdom and inspiration, Farrell said.
Prior to the beautification project, the cafeteria was bland with plain walls and little color. “We wanted it to be a great place to come,” Farrell said, adding the murals and mosaics will set a whole new tone. “It’s fun,” she said.
Farrell said the students have enjoyed working with the artists to create the drastic change in their cafeteria. “It’s been a real collaboration,” she said.
The school's PTO has been very supportive of the effort, Farrell said. Money from a PTO fundraiser at earlier this month will go towards the project.
Farrell, who has worked at the school since it opened in the 90s, has plenty of experience in creating mosaics. In fact, each year, she leads a new mosaic project as an opportunity for students to leave their mark on the school.
The school’s main office is adored with an enchanted forest mosaic. Throughout the school, there are mosaics featuring everything from outer space to under water scenes. The artwork even extends outdoors, where there’s a large peaceable kingdom mosaic for the students to enjoy during recess.
Mosaics are good projects for elementary school children for several reasons, Farrell explained. For one, “clay is a very forgiving medium,” she said.
But most importantly, “everyone has a piece that makes a whole."
Plus, it lasts. “It’s that legacy piece. As a legacy to the school, it’s just been wonderful," Farrell said.