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Mason students paint famous town landmarks

  • Mason Elementary School art teacher Michelle Jimeno of Brookline explains the process for students collaborating on painted scenes from Mason's most famous historical sites. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Mason Elementary School art teacher Michelle Jimeno of Brookline explains the process for students collaborating on painted scenes from Mason's most famous historical sites. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Mason Elementary School art teacher Michelle Jimeno of Brookline explains the process for students collaborating on painted scenes from Mason's most famous historical sites. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • Mason Elementary School art teacher Michelle Jimeno of Brookline explains the process for students collaborating on painted scenes from Mason's most famous historical sites. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • Mason Elementary School art teacher Michelle Jimeno of Brookline explains the process for students collaborating on painted scenes from Mason's most famous historical sites. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, February 14, 2018 6:5PM

The paintings that line the multi-purpose room in the Mason Elementary School are unfinished, and show the age of their student painters. They’re also easily recognizable as some of Mason’s most important landmarks – the school, the Mann House, Uncle Sam’s House, the church, the town pound, and Wolf’s Rock.

They’re sights that anyone even passingly familiar with Mason might be able to pick out. They make a fitting backdrop to the town’s upcoming 250th anniversary celebrations – which is exactly what they’re meant for, explained art teacher Michelle Jimeno.

“These towns were born before our country was,” said Jimeno. “There’s a lot of history here, and when you’re learning about this community, it becomes real. We’re living in it. People from our community did these things – they rallied to fight at Bunker Hill.”

Jimeno, though she lives in Brookline, has been teaching art at the elementary school for the last seven or eight years now, she said, and agreed to take on the project of leading the children in depicting some of the town’s most famous sites as an artist in residence, when the 250th Anniversary Committee approached her about the idea.

The project has been in the conceptual stages since the start of the year, when Jimeno went through the Mason history to pick six (one for each grade) historically significant scenes to paint. Then, the students were taught the context behind those stories before being taken out to the actual site to do some sketches.

Each finished image is a collaboration of each class’s sketches. The legend of Wolf Rock, for example, so-called because the Rev. Francis Worcester once had to scramble upon it to spend the night after being besieged by wolves, shows the famous story with several different styles of wolves, each drawn by a different child. Even the image of the minister himself is a collaboration – the legs from one child’s sketches, the bent body from another’s. 

“I love those small things that personalize it,” said Jimeno, who said the story was a universal favorite among students – particularly the versions of the story where Worcester drove off the wolves by making them sneeze with his tobacco snuff or sang them to sleep with hymns, both of which were more preferred versions than the (slightly more probable) one of him being rescued by neighbors. “These are the kinds of stories that show a little bit about how life was then, and let you connect.”

Each of the paintings are made up this way, having been transferred on the painting board by Jimeno after she scaled the original drawings with a photocopier. 

Each painting shows an artistic progression, with the older students showing a grasp of dimension, said Jimeno, but each seems to make clear how much influence these sites, some of which the children see every day, have had on their lives.

“They’ll say things like, ‘I go to church every Sunday, and the walkway goes like this,’” said Jimeno. “They know these places.”

The paintings will be finished at the end of the school year and will be available for viewing at the town’s 250th anniversary celebrations.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.