HAMLIN—The wall opposite the budding rooftop garden on the upper floor of EverGreen Elementary is itself blossoming with flowers of a different sort.
Since around March of this year, students in the EverGreen Art Club, under the eye of art instructor Gayle Sauers and thanks to the initiative taken by fellow fifth-grader Aliya Fiorella, have been adorning the wall with a pastoral mural depicting various birds and flowers local to the area.
The project started when Fiorella brought a petition, signed by numerous students in the school and brought before the Western Wayne School District Board of Directors at their November 2017 meeting.
Fiorella explained to the board she wanted to “make the school more beautiful.”
Fiorella later explained the idea was set in motion after a discussion with District Assistant Superintendent Ellen Faliskie.
She noted the administrator asked if Fiorella had plans to run for class President and what her ideas were for the school.
“I said I wanted the school to have more colors,” explained Fiorella. “So we thought about what we could do and then it just went from there.”
Fiorella stated she was impressed by pieces of art Sauers had painted in other buildings and in the school's cafeteria and wanted to create a similar piece.
In a latter interview, Sauers noted while she was in favor of the project, the impetus to achieve it came solely from Fiorella.
“She did it all on her own and if it came to pass, I was just on board,” said the art instructor.
The board voiced support for the idea at the November meeting, elated that a student took it upon herself to initiate such a project and see it through.
“I think it's wonderful that students such as Aliya want to make our school more beautiful than it already is,” said District Superintendent Matthew Barrett. “It's a tremendous accomplishment.”
With the district's blessing, Fiorella worked with Sauers to form early sketches for the bucolic scene.
“We wanted a place where it was nice and serene and made you happy, and it was spring forever,” explained Sauers.
Initially imagined at about two-thirds its current size, the project has since “taken on a life of its own,” said EverGreen Principal Justin Pidgeon.
Sharing the Superintendent's sentiment, Pidgeon said it's great to see a student take an idea in front of the board and all the parents present and garner support for a project.
Sauers explained after the students started working on the project, they thought it would be nice to extend it further and catch the eyes of passers by meandering the hall.
“It becomes this real welcoming area,” she said.
While most of the painting is flat against the wall, the group has taken to adding fabric flower petals and other three-dimensional objects to make the image pop off the wall.
Seeing the mural in its current state of completion, Fiorella said she “feels good” given all the work she's put into getting the project off the ground, helping design the pieces and painting them on the wall.
While it is difficult to ever really describe a work of art as “done,” said Sauers, the mural still has much work and creativity left to be put into it by next year's Art Club before it can begin to be described as finished.