Student art on display at Brickworks Plaza

Students of Spring Street International School
Students of Spring Street International School's middle school art class pose for a picture beside several of the murals that decorate the green space by the Brickworks plaza.
— image credit: Journal photo / Scott Rasmussen

The latest addition to Friday Harbor's Brickworks Plaza is a student-led community art project.

Conceived of and created by the 5th-7th grade creative arts class of Spring Street International School, under the guidance of art teacher Cloud Oakes, the project features eight murals painted by the 21 members of the class that were installed along the fence by the plaza's "green space" at the end of April.

The murals, with the "History of Farming in the San Juans" as their theme, will be on display through the end of the summer.

From the beginning, in fall 2012, to its end, the project taught the students not only a lot about mural art but about their community and about being involved in it, Oakes said.

The students learned about the history of local farming by visiting the San Juan Historical Museum, about the elements of mural art from local artist Annie Howe Adams and then incorporated her advice, such as "use big brushes and make strokes", in finishing their paintings in December, and then visited Peace Island Medical Center to see the mural project depicting the history of island medical care that Adams created for the medical center, at which time Adams also gave a 2-hour talk about the work behind each piece on display.

Oakes said that the students also reached out to the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild to inquire about the group hosting the murals at the Brickworks courtyard and wrote letters of request to the Guild on their own.

Equally instructive and important, Oakes said, the students followed through after receiving the Guild's approval to bring the project to its conclusion, culminating with installation of the murals at the end of April.

— Scott Rasmussen


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