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Stonewall Jackson Elementary Communities in Schools Large Scale Murals Showcased in Historic Downtown Bristol

March 13, 2017

The Arts & Entertainment District is hosting the 6th Annual Student Art Gallery in Downtown Bristol. In an effort to “Cultivate Bristol’s Creativity,” the district has invited the local schools to help beautify our community by providing art to decorate the front windows of the former Hayes Furniture Building on State Street.

“The student art gallery is an invaluable tool for growth for our future artists, engineers, designers, and painters of tomorrow,” says Maggie Bishop, Director for Believe in Bristol. “By giving children the chance to be part of our arts community, we hope that they will grow to love the arts and make them an important part of their lives – and one day they will be the ones keeping the arts alive here in our downtown.”

Each school or group that participates has a month-long period to display their students’ art in the space. The third gallery of art went up last week, showcasing artwork from third, fourth, and fifth grade students at Stonewall Jackson Elementary. The large scale murals were created for the Communities in Schools program.

Communities in Schools of Southwest Virginia continues its mission to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. The “Hidden Closet” project came about due to the awareness of needed items such as clothing, shoes, undergarments, socks, personal hygiene products, food, cleaning supplies and school supplies. The closet is a private and confidential space set aside for students and their families to receive items needed to make their life less stressful. The “Hidden Closet” is financially supported by Speedway Children’s Charity and Wells Fargo Bank.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to serve our students and their families with this project,” says Deborah Wagner, Executive Director for Communities in Schools of Southwest Virginia. “The community support and outreach for the “Hidden Closet” has been overwhelming!”

Bristol Virginia Public School Art Teacher, Pam O’Quinn and her students worked hard to create an artistic mural which will decorate and bring life and color to the lockers in the closet, located at the Bristol Virginia Public School Central Office building on Lee Street.

“The contact paper has a slick surface so we used acrylic paint and it worked really well,” explains O’Quinn. First, a class of students used large paintbrushes to create a black design for the overall mural. Students used lines, shapes, and symbols for the design. Next, they connected them together with a variety of lines. “If you look closer,” O’Quinn continues, “You will find smiley faces, hearts, stars, flowers, triangles, squares, and even a few “Pokémon Balls” hidden in there. The next few classes filled in the designs with different colors and experimented with making new tints of colors using white. The first week we painted one-half of the paper and the second week we flipped it over and painted the other half.”

Artwork by the students from Stonewall Jackson Elementary will be on display at the Hayes Furniture Building until April 3, 2017.