Mural palette-able to Canaan students

By Dean Shipley

February 1, 2014

Budding VanGoghs, Georgia O’Keefes and Elizabeth Jane Gardners gathered Thursday, Jan. 30 after class at Canaan Middle School to create a lasting work of art. Some 13 young artists have plied their talents on a masterwork of 12 feet by 16 feet in the hallway which includes the science rooms.

“Since it’s science related, it’s a good place to put it,” said Hilary Frambes, local artist, who is guiding the project.

Guide is the operative word for her as she points out the fifth and sixth graders have been painting the mural themselves.

“The kids designed it,” she said.

They also chose the theme which is Save the Darby. All the insect, animal, marine and plant life are species found in and around the Big Darby Creek. Frambes said the “critters” found in the mural are not to scale, which in a mural rendering is acceptable artistic license. Thus a butterfly is as big as a raccoon and a rabbit is supersized as if on steroids.

The 13 painters are split into two groups so they are literally not on top of one another when they are working either on Tuesday or Thursday for an hour after school. They were selected from a group who applied to be a part of the project and agreed to be committed to it until completion. They also had to write a paragraph or draw a picture as part of the application process.

They work in a medium called mural paint, which Frambes said is water-based, but is very durable and washable once it’s dried and on the wall.

Drew Bailey was painting over a spot, where he had initially put a spider’s web. Frambes suggested in his web re-do, he used a much smaller brush to make the web appear more delicate and not like spokes of a wagon wheel.

“I was in art enrichment in the fourth grade and thought it would be fun,” he said as he doused orange paint on the mural.

Millia Runkle and Julianne Bailey (not related to Drew) wanted to be a part of a project that would be part of the school’s culture for a long time.

“I knew it would be her forever and wanted to be a part of it,” Runkle said. She also wanted her younger siblings, sisters Maya and Marlie to know her big sister had been a contributor to the mural.

Avery Hecht enjoys engaging in activities at the Darby Creek, including seining for minnows and sought to make the artistic connection.

A formal dedication of the mural will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 in the school.

The artists who have worked on the project include the following: Lauren Abend, Drew Bailey, Julianne (JJ) Bailey, Rachel Clemens, Maddy Frambes, Avery Hecht, Jenna Keiffer, Olivia McCoy, Emma Pauly, Renee Rice, Millia Runkle, Logan Sowards and Sophia Tonti.

Dean Shipley can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 17 or via Twitter @DeanAShipley.