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Student mural is unveiled



Last modified: Monday, May 19, 2014
GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Elementary School Parent Teacher Organization unveiled its glass and paint mosaic mural project entitled “Trees and their Eco-Systems Through the Seasons” on Wednesday.

The mural, located at the entrance of the school, was designed and created by Greenfield Elementary students, parents, teachers and artist David Fichter.

The project was part of Greenfield Elementary School’s Reverence of Place interdisciplinary program, which aims to encourage children’s understanding of and sense of stewardship for the natural world, specifically the woods of New Hampshire. Each grade level was assigned a native tree species that the students studied while putting together the mural.

Fichter, a professional muralist based in Cambridge, Mass., has been creating public murals around the world for more than 30 years. Fichter has worked on mural portfolios, theater design, and student murals, among other projects, during his career.

“My favorite part of working with children is their thorough enjoyment of the project. Kids don’t get the chance to paint the walls often. It’s fun, and it’s really hard work,” said Fichter on Monday.

Fichter will remember his time in Greenfield by the amount of community support and participation he received for the project.

“I will never forget how much the kids and parents pitched in. I remember when I pulled up to the school for the first time I had a truck full of all the materials to make the mural and people were waiting to help me unload when I arrived,” recalled Fichter. “The custodians and teachers were amazing.”

Greenfield Elementary PTO president Angélique Moon could not have been happier about the project.

“The kids took to the project like ducks on water,” Moon said. “David expanded the mural as the kids began to enjoy the project more and more.”

According to Fichter, construction of the mural took two weeks. The kids drew designs for the mural before Fichter arrived. Fichter then took the kids’ drawings and created a scaled drawing of what the mural would look like.

“In my original design, I didn’t plan to have as much mosaic because mosaic takes more time and is more complex. But, the plan changed when the project was going so well, I added more mosaic portions to the mural,” said Fichter.

The students took pride in their work on a daily basis during the mural’s construction.

“The kids would stop in the hallways during the school day when they were getting off of the bus or going to the bathroom just to look at the unfinished mural,” said Moon.

The funds for the mural came from a $4,500 Artist in Residence grant from the N.H. State Council on the Arts that the Greenfield PTO was awarded last September.

The unveiling ceremony was attended by parents, teachers, students, Fichter, and other community members. A film made during the creation of the mural was played for the audience and refreshments were served.

“This was a great community building event for the school,” said Moon.

“The mural looks great in the space and will have a long life as kids and parents discover more and more about it over time,” added Fichter.