For the Reporter
Six elementary schools in Kent are banding together to use art to combat recent fears about violence in public schools.
Supported by a $500 Kent Arts Commission grant, a team of local art docents – volunteer art teachers – will paint a traveling canvas mural with roughly 2,000 K-to sixth-graders.
The 6-by-8-foot mural depicts a teenager in the center and various community members around him/her. The children will be using acrylic paint to make “vibes” coming out from the teenager to the rest of the community members, with a message encircling the youth, “Love Begins With Me.”
“I see this project having a very positive impact on the kids and our community. I am thrilled to be involved,” said Bagrationoff, an art docent.
After March 11, the project will be separated into six distinct portions and sent to Horizon, Covington, Glen Ridge, Lake Youngs, Meridian and Sawyer Woods elementary schools where students will add their touches with direction from their school art docents.
Administrators are eager to change the conversation at their schools from one of fear to one of love and hope.
“Our teachers and students have been tense since the event in Florida. We could use a reason to hope for brighter days ahead,” said Miles Erdly, Horizon principal.
Artistic direction is being given by Becci Harrison, a local artist from Tacoma known as The Daydream Unicorn. Painting will be finalized in May. Additional creative and administrative support is being provided by The Interurban Center for the Arts at Green River College.
The project, “Love Begins With Me,” is the concept of Lindsey Shumway, a Kent mother of three who volunteers monthly to teach art at Horizon where staff and funding for visual arts is limited.
Upon completion, the mural will travel to various schools within the district promoting its positive message and will then be donated to a local Kent charitable organization.