The classrooms of Camden Hills Regional High School are not occupied solely by students; sometimes, they are used for faculty and board meetings off hours. When someone asked visual arts instructor Russell Kahn if he could liven up multi-use classroom No. 471, he knew just the group of artists for the job.

His hunch paid off. This results were signed just a few weeks ago and likely will remain in place for years — a series of four trompe l’oeil windows offering views of four exotic locations.

Kahn, who lives in Belfast, credits his First Semester Painting students with coming up with the idea and locales. He offered to frame their window views with complementary architecture, creating “brick” arches and sills as well as a brick band that runs the full width of the wall underneath. The students, who come from all four high school grades, worked together in groups to chose their subjects, come up with colored pencil and crayon sketches and then transfer the sketched scene to the wall. The final images are painted in vibrant acrylics.

“I told them could choose anyplace in the world. We ended up with Africa, Venice, Greece and Paris,” said Kahn.

Rather than transfer their sketches from paper to the wall via a frid system, the students took on the added challenge of doing it freehand. The windows were completed by the end of the semester, but getting them signed by the artists took most of the winter, as some of the students had moved on to other schedules. On May 17, most of the students gathered to commemorate their work with a break-between-classes reception.

“Painting it was really kind of fun,” said one of the artists as she munched a cookie bar.

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by email to