Students Unveil Mural at Tiverton Middle School
Tiverton Middle School students unveiled the latest in a series of murals in the school's stairwell.
One wall, 8 weeks, 14 students. Those are the ingredients for the latest in a series of murals meant to brighten the cinder block walls of Tiverton Middle School.
The colorful mural unveiled in a stairwell of the school last week paints a picture of positivity for students. Created during the inaugural session of a new arts-based after school program, Tiverton After School Arts (TASA), students worked to pain the mural togetherunder the guidance of middle school art teacher Adam Tracy.
"I wanted to do some type of positive message," said Tracy, who designed the mural that the students painted. "The kids come through this hall everyday and middle school kids can sometimes be not so positive."
Splashes of pink, yellow and red form the shape of a middle school student working intently at her desk, surrounded on all sides by positive message like "hard work pays off;" "nothing worth having comes easy;" and "work hard everyday."
"I'm so impressed and I love the message that hard work pays off," said Sally Black, School Committee chairwoman, who attended the mural unveiling on Dec. 5. "To see how dismal and cold it was, the mural brings such warmth and excitement. It's an opportunity for kids to work as a group and no one is ever left out."
The TASA program began as a district-wide effort to bring more art programs to students in elementary through high school. Championed by high school guidance counselor and drama club advisor Gloria Crist, the effort brings children together and offers an opportunity for a creative outlet.
"The goal really is selfish," said Crist, a longtime advocate for the arts in Tiverton public schools. "It's so kids have another way to learn and express themselves. So that they are not only regimented with academics, but so they also have freedom of expression."
The fall program served 78 students across grade levels. TASA took over for the district's previous after school arts program, the Sakonnet Arts Network.
The after school arts-based collaboration also offers a forum for homeschooled students to interact with their peers.
Sixth grader Abiah Fisher said TASA gave her the opportunity to work on an art project - her favorite subject - but also introduced her to many new friends. As a homeschooled student, the 11-year-old said she met a lot of new friends during the 8-week program and said she would definitely be participating in the upcoming sessions.
"My favorite part was working with all the wonderful people having good times, painting and doing art," said Fisher.
The third mural of its kind, Tiverton Middle School's students have no intention of letting the paint dry on the walls inside the school. Tracy is already probing the community to find a surface for a community mural.