High School students to leave mark with multicultural murals

The halls of Schuylerville High School are about to become more colorful and vibrant with the help of dozens of students, teachers, volunteers and a local muralist. On Nov. 16, students will begin to paint a 100-foot mural on the walls along the first floor main entrance to the high school, located under the library. The theme of the mural is “Animals, Animals, Animals: A Celebration of the Natural World and the Culture of the Native People of the Northeast.” Special Education Teacher Pam DeLucia helped spearhead the project and said she is looking forward to getting started.

“We believe this is a great opportunity for our students, specifically our freshmen class, to invest themselves in the school and leave their mark,” DeLucia said.

Saratoga Arts made this program possible with a 2015 Arts Education Grant funded by the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature. Students in Su Luke’s and Kirt Winslow’s studio art classes and students in special education classes will work alongside artist Susan Shanley of Saratoga Springs for five days to complete the mural. Shanley, who is also a licensed school social worker, has led projects for more than 60 indoor and outdoor murals, including four international projects. Several volunteers from Green Ribbon Schools will also help out with the project.

“This mural project focuses on helping students increase their appreciation of the value of multiculturalism by exploring both human diversity and bio-diversity,” Shanley said. “Through the experience, students build trust and a sense of community with each other.”

The project is also cross-curricular. Students in living environment classes will learn about the habits and characteristics of the animals and plants depicted in the mural, while students painting the mural will learn art principles and elements.

DeLucia is excited to see the project begin and wants to extend her gratitude to everyone who helped make it possible, including the Schuylerville Buildings and Grounds crew that welcomed the project, despite the extra preparation work it created.

“After nearly a year of planning, obtaining grant funding and active participation of students, faculty, staff, Board of Education members, parents and community volunteers, our mural is about to come to life,” DeLucia said. “The mural will be a visual representation of the area we are fortunate to live in and a daily reminder of the spirit of cooperation of our school community.”

The district is planning a celebration to unveil the mural to the Schuylerville community. More details will be released and photos of the progress will be posted at schuylervilleschools.org.