For the past 6 weeks, students at Cumberland Community School have been working with local artist Gillian Brooks to design, plan and paint a mural on the outside wall of the school. The project aims to strengthen the connection between our school and local community while engaging students in the arts.
This valuable opportunity is being offered as a 10 week exploratory course to Cumberland students in grades 6 to 9. It provides students with the chance to voice their personal and collective connections to the community, and express what is meaningful about the place they live. Gillian Brooks, a local artist whose street art can be found throughout the Village of Cumberland, is excited to be working with youth in her community. “We have been working hard and are more than half way done this amazing mural project at the Cumberland School. I am so lucky to have these energetic kids in my class to get the paint on the wall as a team! The mural is designed to inspire young minds to take part in nature. We are especially proud to feature a honey bee as the main focus in this scene as we want to express the importance of their survival in nature” says Brooks.
The Mural Project is a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when a community works together. Last October, teacher Rachael Black approached Ms. Brooks about the possibility of working with students on a school mural project. Working together with the school administration, Ms. Black and the Cumberland Community Schools Society (CCSS) secured an Artist in the Classroom Grant from ArtStarts in Schools. The school’s Parent Advisory Council also came on board to provide financial support and Dulux Paints in Courtenay generously donated paint for the project. “It has been really exciting to watch this project unfold” says CCSS Executive Director, Sue Loveless. “It highlights the benefits of connecting students with mentors in our community, and providing opportunities for experiential learning”.
The finished mural will be showcased at a community event later this year.