(From left) Colwood elementary school students Meghan O’Hanley (9)

Planter project to be installed soon in Colwood

Schoolwide art effort creates a lasting legacy for students

Approximately 190 student-made tiles adorn a new planter at Colwood elementary.

Intricately hand-crafted alongside the guidance of an artist-in-residence, the colourful clay tiles are adorned with images of eagles, owls, trees, flowers and the sun, as well as the initials of the student who created it.

The tiles now stand as a permanent legacy, and all it took to get there was a grant, an artist and a whole lot of students.

“The thing that makes me most excited is the way it all comes together,” former vice-principal Sarah Laughton said. “It ties together work in the forest, learning about art, learning (that) art can be in (important) places and physical evidence that art forever lives on their school playground.”

It was Laughton who applied for the Artstarts grant that helped raise 70 per cent of the funds needed to bring in artist Renée Sala to work with every young student in the school on the project.

It was undertaken in the 2013-2014 academic year and culminated with the colourful planter. The rest of the money was raised by the Parent Advisory Committee.

“I think art is essential. Art allows students to express their learning in different ways and allows students to learn about themselves and be creative,” Laughton said.

Artstarts, a B.C. program, annually showcases the best of the projects it has funded.

Some of the hand-made tiles from the Colwood elementary students were featured at a gallery in Vancouver last year.

Ten-year-old Grade 5 student Keegan O’Connor painted a fish on his tile, in part because his father is a fisherman.

Keegan said it is nice to see the tiles on the planter and a new amenity added to the school.

“It was pretty fun; we got to play and create some stuff we wanted with clay,” he said. “It’s something to add in our park here.”

A tree will be planted into the planter on Nov. 9 and officially unveiled at the school the next day, shortly after their Remembrance Day commemoration.

“I was really proud of the way Colwood students, staff and parents came together to make this project happen,” Laughton said.

“It feels like a community project, because everyone was working on it on their own way – staff learning about outdoor education, the PAC raising funds and students creating the art. I was very proud to be a part of it.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

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