Winter mural blooms at Oceanside

By Dagney C. Ernest | May 09, 2017
The new mural at Oceanside High School can be found in the long hallway between rooms 27 and 30.

Rockland — During Oceanside High School’s final Oceanside Pride assembly of the school year April 28, artists and students involved with the mid-winter creation of the school’s new hall mural shared their process via a slide talk and received applause and kudos from those in attendance.

Gifted and Talented Coordinator Anne Pietroski introduced community artists Alexis Iammarino and Sarah Chadwick-Rogers who, along with two of the student artists, narrated the talk. Lined up behind them sitting on the stage were the many student artists who worked on the collaborative project.

“It took a lot of hands,” said Iammarino, crediting Oceanside art teachers Jared Cowan and Lily Hyde for their support as the participating students came to the front of the auditorium.

Student Zoe Goff explained how the team took photos around the school, as well as from online imagery, to come up with possible palettes, using Pantone Studio and Color Viewfinder apps. Students made sketches of ideas, which were cut out and placed on a sheet of paper to wall scale to see how the designs might work.

“We had a lot of collaborative ideas, so this finished product wasn’t one person’s idea, it was everyone’s ideas combined,” said Goff.

Fellow student artist Mickayla Hitz spoke about the actual painting, which began with applying a base coat over the former “wave” mural. Primer followed, alternating with sanding. When a slide of the students opening boxes of paint, ordered from California and wrapped in Chinese-language newspaper, came on, she said, “This is artists’ Christmas right here!”

The students mixed their own colors, as chosen by consensus using the palettes. In addition to painting directly on the wall, they also designed, painted and installed panels, which renders the mural 3-D.

“We had one team focused on sketching out and getting those major shapes and backgrounds on the wall; and then another team working in the art room to coat the panels that were cut by Alexis at her studio and then brought on site,” said Chadwick-Rogers.

Both community artists commended the school and its teachers for allowing the muralists to work with them during the school day. Being on site during school hours also meant other students became part of the process, at one point casting votes to help decide part of the project.

“I just want to say it was really touching … how their teachers supported them, giving them time for clearly what their natural talents are and probably directions they will head in the future, hopefully,” Chadwick-Rogers said.

“It would be a missed opportunity to not say this school has made an investment in the paints and also in the students with what Sarah and I do, so it means there’s opportunities for future projects,” said Iammarino.

One summer vacation project open to Oceanside students is another downtown Rockland public mural. The community artist team, working with Canadian artist Melissa Luk and the Farnsworth Art Museum, has received a National Endowment for the Arts grant to transform the School Street wall of the Grasshopper Shop; two summers ago a similar consortium, working with community members, transformed the brick wall on Oak Street.

A lot of what the community does in the school is anonymous, said Oceanside Principal Jennifer Curtis, “and this is a chance we have to see how the community’s coming into our school and how we’re reaching out to the community in meaningful ways.”

Student artists and designers of the Oceanside mural include Adde Andriacco, Alex Barstow, Jasmine Bouchard, Jenna Conant, Jeanna Fagundo, Isabelle Corona-Fertauto, Lauren Fougner, Lydia Gamage, Zoe Goff, Mickayla Hitz, Skylar Kaler-Wall, Jackie Loveland, Lyndsay Luckman, Ella Lunger, Philomena Marsh, Katherine McCue, Duncan McKnight, Lily McVetty, Anneliese Poisson, Mariah Rackliffe, Sam Reynolds, Brijonna Rockett, Brianna Shaw, Rachelle Thompson, Bea Weinard, Abigail Young and Minjun Zhoo.

Oceanside student Zoe Goff narrates some of the mural slide talk during the year-ending Oceanside Pride assembly April 28. (Photo by: Dagney C. Ernest)
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