Sarah Pyle Peace Mural
The Garden Mural Project was part of an overall vision to enhance public relation opportunities within the eastside community, to encourage student ownership, and to participate in on-going peace efforts within the city and within the school. During the 2014-2015 school year, Sarah Pyle initiated the creation of an art mural that is currently located on the concrete wall that supports and showcases our school's Peace Garden. The retaining wall is approximately 5 feet tall and is half a block long. It encases the perimeter of the school on 5th Street and on Lombard Street.
Sarah Pyle worked with The Creative Factory (a Wilmington based art center) to design, paint, and execute the mural. Students and community members were encouraged to participate in this initiative, as our intentions were to spread a message of hope and peace throughout the east-side community. The mural design and execution process took an entire school year to complete. During the months of September, October, and November, Michael Kalmbach (CVF's director) met with students to discuss the overall concept and idea. The first meeting took place in the school's auditorium and involved the school entire student population. In October and November, we continued to meet with students, the purpose of these meetings was to construct a solid design concept with specific and detailed input from our students. We held in-depth discussions with them about the positive images that they see which inspire and motivate them to be successful. During December, January, and February, the artistic team at the Creative Vision Factory used our students' input to formulate three possible mural ideas for the garden wall. In March, our student team met again to select a final concept for the mural wall.
For the project, the Creative Vision Factory provided one project foreman and one CVF member painter. We have estimated that the mural took our team approximately 100 hours to complete. The wall preparation and priming took approximately 20 hours and was broken up into 4 five-hour work days to degrease and wash the masonry and 2 five-hour days to prime the wall surface. The teaching artist led the design generation with the students and myself and students volunteered to paint the design on the wall. The CSD, SPA and CVF donated to our project- donations consisted of 15 gallons of primer, over 20 gallons of exterior latex paint, multiple paint brushes, paint containers, paint rollers, and trays. The Creative Vision Factory has also donated over $1,000 in high quality acrylic mural paint. This paint was purchased by the CVF and donated to the Mural Project to expedite the painting process. Sarah Pyle Academy, the Creative Vision Factory, and the Christina School District completed the mural in June 2015.
The mural design was symbolic to our students and the artists for various reasons. The design idea was originated by one of our students, Jose Zavala. His concept began with flowers blossoming from our school's logo. Brandan Henry, a design artist from The Creative Vision Factory, took Jose's idea and expanded upon it. While he was creating the mural design, he focused his idea on depicting a flow of energy, evolving gradually, through botanical visuals. Starting with the Logo, he tried to make resemble the pupil of an eyeball. The left side is the material space which is read right to left.
Iris, which indicates "inspiration/guidance". This is what motivates the teachers and students to come to school and put forth time and effort.
Next to that image, is an assortment of Lotus flowers which symbolizes "knowledge"; the Seeded Lotus pods represent tiny seeds of wisdom being planted. These pods relate to the education experience and the tools that are being given/received to prepare these young adults for life.
The lotus are followed by a bouquet of Begonias which further instill "knowledge/deep thought," since learning is a continuous process. Next is an assembly of Stargazer lilies, which signify "ambition". Student's progression at Sarah Pyle Academy fuels their desire to achieve more. Finally, these floral images lead into a blanket of Casablancas, which exemplify "celebration!" They symbolize graduation and completion of the program.
This leads into a refreshing potpourri of Clover and Dandelions. Both plants are considered weeds and personify "competitiveness", "persistence", "strength" and "resilience". Ending the mural with florets from the Dandelion being carried by that continuous flowing energy, each dancing into the world in their own special way. Since the entire composition has this dynamic movement flowing throughout, the end represents a final exhale of air for the individuals that work hard, graduate and move on to be successful in life.
Though we have moved on from our historic building on Lombard Street, our mural there lives on, and we hope it will provide inspiration to the additional students who cross it's path in their new school "home."