Creating Beauty from Construction


US teachers Freda Graan and Bri Stout with Student Council reps Sid Menon and Lawson Stump at the beginning of the project
US teachers Freda Graan and Bri Stout with Student Council reps Sid Menon and Lawson Stump at the beginning of the project

Back in early September, Student Council President Lawson Stump sent an email to her fellow students asking for designs reflecting the theme “Building a More Beautiful Tomorrow” that could be used to beautify the temporary construction wall between Academy Hall and the Upper School. She encouraged clubs, teams, classes and advisories to submit images that could be painted into a large mural as a school-wide project.

Members of the Upper School’s Art Society then drew large-scale outlines of the selected designs on the wooden wall. In the weeks since the mid-October fall break, groups from all three divisions of the school have been painting sections of the mural using paint-by-number guidelines.

“The project is a truly a collaborative work that celebrates the creativity of our students and our excitement for what the future holds at Columbus Academy,” said Spanish teacher Freda Graan, who has taken her upper school classes to paint the wall on several occasions.

Middle-schoolers contributing their creativity

When the school’s art and literary magazine hosted an Art Fair last month, one of the activities offered was to take turns on the mural, so that boosted participation as well.

“The mural is a great way for students from different divisions to come together and add something fun and colorful to the school,” said senior Jessica Hile, president of an upper school club called Art Society. “My role in the project was primarily copying over the submitted designs to the panels and coordinating Art Society to help when I couldn’t be there. I think the panels will be up for the majority of the year, then perhaps some will be moved to other more-permanent locations once they’re no longer needed for the construction.”

Student Council members Otis Klingbeil, Lawson Stump and Katie Boeckman take turns painting the mural

It hasn’t just been the upper-schoolers, though. Middle school and even lower school teachers have been taking their classes to contribute.

“I believe that being concretely involved in a fun activity that is embedded with positive messages about the future makes you more aware of how you can have a positive impact in your community,” explained middle school Spanish teacher Bea Romo. “It makes you reflect and contemplate the values that other students and faculty shared in this project. I think that this activity helps in the assimilation process of those values like community, respect, love, hope and equality.”

Kudos to everyone involved in this project. It is efforts like this that make Academy such a special place. Even amidst the messiness of construction, beauty abounds.

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