Local news. More details at WCJB.
Interview with the teacher Maya Brown
This project is so special to be a part of. It is empowering to provide children with the opportunity to embrace their creativity, specifically when it coincides with referencing gender and race by using images of significant figures in history. The portraits of Michelle Obama and Harriet Tubman are both very moving figures to have together in the space because they represent an interesting parallel within the constructs of power and race. The students will get the chance to paint with me in the background of both portraits. They will do most of the work with their hands rather than brushes and will fill in large blocks of color referencing handmade quilts. Quilts have an interesting history specifically for the underground railroad and I find them to be a beautiful metaphor for small pieces coming together to create a bigger picture. – Jenna Horner, artist.
There are many benefits to projects such as the mural painted. The most obvious is the beautification of the school campus. We had two walls that at one point were plain white and occasionally because nothing was there kids would write unkind things there. It was almost like a huge blank piece of paper screaming fill me up, please. Kids sometimes did fill it up but not with nice things. Painting the mural and more importantly allowing the kids to paint the mural made the campus more aesthetically pleasing and the kids were able to do it. Another benefit is that we have many many kids across our district who are naturally artistically inclined. Unfortunately, they do not have a plethora of options available to them to be able to show their artistic abilities. This was an outlet for many kids to be a part of something artistic that was enjoyable and ALL kids could do it whether they are the next Picasso or whether they are like me, someone who can barely draw a stick figure. I also believe projects like these are important because many people in various ways are willing to share their artistic talents with the schools or greater community at large. They want to give back to the communities that they feel have given so much to them and I think they’re just hasn’t or perhaps it is more accurate to say there isn’t necessarily a platform for them to do so. It would be great if there was some sort of a go-between or rather a liaison that could bridge our art and educational communities together on a larger scale.
A Letter from the Principal
OFFICE OF THE PRINCIPAL
July 12, 2018
For the month of March, students at my school, Williams Elementary, studied many notable women. Iryna Kanishcheva from the Gainesville Urban Art Project [GNV URBAN ART LLC] coordinated with Jenna Horner to create a wonderful project that culminated this unit of study. The mural that Jenna Horner conceptualized was a powerful hands on experience for the students of Williams Elementary that will serve as a source of inspiration for years to come.
The impact of the arts on education cannot be overstated. This mural allowed students to have greater ownership in deepening their learning. One parent can be quoted as saying “This project is wonderful and my baby has shown me three times where her hand print is”. As a principal, I can say that nothing is better than having all stakeholders (students, teachers andparents) excited about learning.
Art is an integral part of all subject areas and in my opinion, art projects such as this are extremely beneficial to all aspects of the elementary curriculum. Why not have a mural in a school representing the Egyptian hieroglyphics or the periodic tables? There are so many possibilities for integrating art murals such as these across the school campus. Most importantly, it allows students to have hands on experience to deepen their content knowledge, in partnership with the community of art experts from the Gainesville Urban Art Project.
I would like to formally thank the Gainesville Urban Art Project for dedicating their time and talents to the students of Williams Elementary. It is my hope that this partnership will continue for other schools in Gainesville. I would gladly attest to the success of this powerful hands on experience for students.
Principal of Williams Elementary
[now Principal of W. A. Metcalfe Elementary School]