An art project that illustrates important values for North Park Wilson School and its community brought together students and helped to transform a neighbourhood recreation space, thanks to support from the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation.
The boards of the skating rink behind the school now bear graffiti-style illustrations that spell out the school's commitment to community, citizenship, collaboration and creativity in bright colours.
The project was led by parent and artist Josh Jacobson and was funded by a $5,000 grant from the Saskatoon Public Schools Foundation.
"Our North Park Wilson School family sends our sincerest appreciation to the foundation. Its support allowed this dream to become a reality," said Principal Kristin Siba. "
North Park Wilson is a Centre of Excellence for the Arts within Saskatoon Public Schools and the project was an opportunity to share the school's unique philosophy of learning through the arts and an invitation to families in the area to join the learning community.
"We were so fortunate to have Josh Jacobson lead our students and staff in this exciting mural creation," Siba said. "We learned a lot and are very pleased with how he managed to signify our schools' pride in all that we stand for."
The painting of the "four Cs" was an attempt to illustrate ideas relating to the words themselves. The positioning of each of the words was done to identify with the point at which they would be viewed from within the rink. The aim was to achieve an overall connection from different angles to encompass the area where the school is situated:
- "Community" is facing the street where it can be seen from the road in front of the school;
- "Citizenship" shows the perspective of the school's next door neighbours;
- "Collaboration" comes from inside the school classrooms;
- "Creativity" can be seen from the school yard.
While all students had the opportunity to share input and ideas into the mural design during art class, students in grade 5-8 were invited to sign up and be a part of this project as an art enrichment activity. For the 36 students who participated it was a specialized learning opportunity as spray paint is a medium that can rarely be explored in a school art program.
"I had a lot of fun working on this project and enjoyed how the enthusiasm for art. The making of it came through in the attitude and philosophy which our school fosters," said Jacobson, whose son attends North Park Wilson.
"Despite spray paint being a challenging medium to learn initially and, in the short time we had to complete it, the students did a great job! By the end of the project there were a few who had really begun to get a feel for it and it left them wanting more."
Jacobson notes that there was a lot of interest and excitement about the project from the start and carried throughout the project. By opening conversations about community, collaboration, citizenship and creativity and supporting values of expression and connection, the project serves to encourage youth to reflect themselves within the creative process and how everyone has an important role to play in their community.
"I understand what a project like this can do for anyone who wishes to have art remain a constant in their lives," he said. "It nurtures the feeling of creativity and freedom that can be achieved through the creation process."
"Working with Josh was really fun! Josh was really nice and funny. He was a great teacher. It was really nice!"
— Kylah (Grade 7)
"Working with Josh was an awesome experience. It was nice to try a new style of art. I liked some of the new and cool (to me) ways to do the spray painting. In all it was awesome and fun!"
—Kenzie (Grade 6)
"I enjoyed getting to do the art. Getting to do the art has inspired me to do my own art with spray paint. It was fun to work with Josh because he was funny and kind and I just really liked working with him. I am really glad that I got this experience. He taught me that I can adapt to different tasks and obviously, tips about spray painting."
—Elliott (Grade 5)