For this school-wide project, titled A Sense of Place, students worked with ceramic artist Sue Burdick Young, Keene Central School art teacher Cheryl MacFadden, 4th grade teacher Chad Filipski, and high school science teacher Mary Werner to create a mosaic on the outside main entry wall of our K-12 school. The elements of the mural tie into the curricula of multiple classrooms and explore a sense of place not only through the representation of the living environment of the Adirondack High Peaks region of New York State, but also through visual references to our local history and symbols of the local culture. The project culminated in an unveiling and presentation by students on June 23, 2011.
The broad theme of this project, a sense of place, brings into focus the gifts of the natural environment of the Adirondack High Peaks region and the role of humans within it. Students have explored the importance of wilderness preservation and the impact this has had on human activities. Students have discovered how the natural environment has functioned as a living partner in the development and history of recreation and industry, and the value of preserving this partnership for the enjoyment of future generations. The project promotes a sense of awareness and pride in the unique qualities of life in the Adirondacks. Additionally, the project promotes a sense of unity through the collaborative learning experience of the participants. Every member of the school community, including custodians, bus drivers, and cafeteria personnel, all students, faculty, administration, staff and the Board of Education have made tiles for the 7’ by 13’ mural.
A Sense of Place has been funded by the Adirondack Arts in Education Partnership that is administrated by the Depot Theatre in Westport. This granting organization helps bring working artists together with classroom teachers to accomplish projects that enrich the students’ artistic, academic, and career awareness. Additional funding has come from High Peaks Education Foundation, Keene Central School Parent/Teacher Committee, East Branch Friends of the Arts, and generous private donors.
We like to think of the mosaic as a metaphor for our school: each small piece is beautiful all by itself, but together they make something quite magnificent, just like us.