Students in the Art Club at West Hartford’s Bristow Middle School painted banners that were put on display in front of Town Hall in preparation for Celebrate! West Hartford.
By Jackie Palermo
While visiting Celebrate West Hartford this June 10-11, you may have noticed uniquely painted banners hanging in the center of town, near Town Hall. These paintings were created as a project of Bristow Middle School’s Art Club, directed by art teacher Kelly Smurthwaite.
Smurthwaite explained that she wanted the banner-painting project to be wide open. She encouraged the students to think about things that were important, interesting, or simply the things that they notice around them.
No one panting was alike.
Students painted a wide range of colorful pieces including a depiction of Hamilton, unique cartoons, carp swimming, the torch of the Statue of Liberty, an ice skater, dandelions, umbrellas, and cacti.
Smurthwaite said that she contemplated giving them an structured theme, but decided in the end that leaving them to their own creativity would be much more interesting.
“I want the paintings to be more inquiry based,” Smurthwaite said.
Smurthwaite explained that she had always wanted to do this project, but never knew the right people to get into contact with. When she contacted the Director of Public Works John Phillips with the proposal, the project was brought to life.
This creative, fun, and expressive opportunity will soon be available to other schools in West Hartford. The town hopes to spread the banner painting project to all the public schools that wish to participate and have their artwork hang up for Celebrate West Hartford next year.
Smurthwaite explained that the children committed themselves to the project and “loved it.” In addition to being an expressive and fun experience, the kids learned a lot about presentation through this work for the public.
“Be sure to look up when you go down South Main Street!” Smurthwaite said, or you might miss something very fun.
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