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Boreal forest mural unveiled

Piece of art a community effort

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From left to right: educational assistant Melrose Bico, vice-principal Suzanne Mole, principal Brenda Langton, Grade 6 students Logan Martins and Juana Arias, and community support worker Livia Bales.

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From left to right: educational assistant Melrose Bico, vice-principal Suzanne Mole, principal Brenda Langton, Grade 6 students Logan Martins and Juana Arias, and community support worker Livia Bales. Photo Store

Everyone at Wellington School has now left their mark on the building.

For 10 months, students from Grade 1 to 6, along with many parents, teachers, and a couple of local artists, worked on a boreal forest mosaic mural. The mural was hung on the side of the school, located at 690 Beverley St., during the last week of October.

"The conception of the mural came from the Winnipeg School Division’s Engaging Fusion (Art Program)," Engaging Fusion support teacher Susan Drysdale explained. "It pairs the teachers’ outcomes in their classrooms with professional artists that work together on a project that would support the kids’ learning." In other words, it means the art project reflected and was closely linked to the school curriculum.

Vice-principal Suzanne Mole explained the theme of the mural was the "seven teachings" — love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth — something all students in Wellington School are learning.

"They’re universal teachings — they’re not just aboriginal teachings. They can be embedded in our lives today. They represent all of the things we want our students to come out of Grade 6 with," Mole said.

The mural was created using a mosaic process, led by visiting artist Ursula Neufeld, who taught the art of mosaics to the students last year.

"It began with her, and grew from that point," Cathy Woods, a part-time art teacher at Wellington School who helped with the project, said.

Grade 6 students Logan Martins and Juana Arias remembered learning mosaics from Neufeld last year in preparation for the big mural project.

"We all did different jobs. The job I had first was painting the sky area," Martins said.

"I helped to make animals," Arias said.

Mole explained that although the mural is complete, there are still more elements to be added next spring. The plant mosaics, created by Grade 1 students, and the pond life cycle mosaic, completed by the Grade 2 and 3 students, still have to be grouted before being put on display.

Wellington School has its own, small-scale boreal forest just outside the building. It runs across the north wall of the school, and includes trees and plants that make up a boreal forest. The school revitalized the space two years ago, building a pathway and a bridge.

"The kids are making a lot of use of that space. We’ve used it for photography, a quiet place to write and sketch," Woods said.

"We have concord grapes that grow up the wall," Mole said, adding that the grapes are edible.

For more information about Wellington School, call 204-774-8085.

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