Grade 2 Ryder Wakefield, 8, and Grade 1 Gabe Jopp, 6, show off some of the elements of the mural that they had a hand working on. All of the students at John Stubbs contributed to the felted mural that now hangs in the hallway of their school. Katherine Engqvist/News Gazette staff

Student-made art piece hung with pride at Colwood school

Ecole John Stubbs student body spent four months working on felted mural

Students at École John Stubbs Memorial recently unveiled a work of art that was months in the making.

The felted mural depicts a scene featuring Esquimalt Lagoon and some of the wildlife found in the area. It hangs in the hallway of the school and was a project each student had a hand in.

“I got to work with every single student in this school,” said Renee Salla, the Victoria-based artist who organized the project. She travels to different schools in the region, writing grant proposals for art projects on their behalf. “I kind of fill (programming) gaps with these projects.”

Salla worked with the John Stubbs students from September through December to craft the piece. She saw it displayed for the first time, hanging as intended, at a recent parent appreciation event in the school.

“This was really special for me because my family is French,” she said, adding it was fun to converse a little with the children in French.

While she usually works in clay, Salla thought that felt would be a good medium for this project and was something children of all ages could work with. She admitted she helped a little with some instruction, as well as laying the titles of material the project is attached to. Other than that it was up to the students. “It’s completely kid made,” she said.

Older students helped younger ones in a cycle that allowed for a lot of interaction between different classes.

“It brought everyone together,” Salla added, noting that can sometimes be a challenge in a school whose students range from kindergarten to Grade 8.

At the parent appreciation event, students of all ages eagerly pointed to aspects of the piece they had worked on, while proud parents admired their work.

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