WESTFORD — A new mural — promoting kindness and spirit within the Day School Community — was recently unveiled in a ceremony on Friday.
Mural the “spirit” of Day School
The mural greets students and staff with bright colors and artwork as they enter the building, replacing what Grade 5 Teacher Megan Eckroth refers to as the “prison gray” wall.
“It’s amazing how it’s become the spirit of Day School,” she told students and guests during a speech. “We called it the prison gray wall, but now it’s this great thing.”
Faculty, such as Jason Fligg, a 4th grade teacher at the Day School, noted his excitement with the new mural.
“There’s no way you can’t look at this without feeling happy,” he said. “Proud is what we all should feel today.”
Students shared Fligg’s excitement, with one student feeling “happy and excited to learn” when viewing the new mural.
Rep. James Arciero, as well as members of Westford’s School Committee, were in attendance.
“It’s such a benefit to the school. I’m moved by it,” School Committee Chair Chris Sanders told WestfordCAT. “It really just brightens up the school and anybody who walks in.”
Students collaborate with artist-in-residence
Students worked with Artist-in-Residence Bren Bataclan, who serves as an art fellow at Fletcher School of Law at Tufts University. The mural is part of Bataclan’s Smile Project, where he works with area students on inclusive murals.
“Teamwork was a huge part of this,” Eckroth told students and guests. “It took all of us coming together to make this mural come to life.”
“I think that this embodies what Westford Education Foundation stands for, which is to fund innovative programs that inspire kids and get them excited,” Westford Education Foundation President Sabrina Feldeisen told WestfordCAT. “All of the funding goes back to programs for the town.”
The funding provided Bataclan with the materials and space to collaborate with students during a three-day period.
Bataclan praised students, who submitted dozens of drawings for Bataclan to incorporate into the mural.
“They’re super talented and super smart,” he told WestfordCAT. “Some of these drawings were a challenge, but I’m really happy with how they turned out.”
Bataclan noted that though not every drawing made it into the final mural, most pieces combine a variety of ideas, drawings and quotes to create a new piece.
“It’s clever — we incorporated a number of quotes,” he said.
Bataclan stressed the importance of representation and diversity within the mural through symbolism. He included a variety of skin tones in his characters, as well as a number of symbols to represent different countries, abilities and peoples.
“I showed some photos of the Philippines [to students], and one student just lit up in the room and said “I’m Filipino,’” Bataclan said.
He continued, “The Philippines flag has a sun, with three stars for the three main islands and eight rays to represent the eight cities that were established when the flag was created. So we incorporated that into the piece.”