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Cambridge artist creates mural at Newton's Jackson School

Posted by Sarah Thomas  January 24, 2011 01:00 AM

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Jackson School


Pictured left to right: front row – Fifth graders Isabelle Lepore, Joanna Kennedy, Jenelle Marius, Julia Slayne, Dellia Fleming. Back row – Grade 5 teacher Ms. Jamie Fava, Thomas DeAngelo, Aisling Walsh, Artist Bren Bataclan.

A Cambridge artist has created an inspirational mural with the help of the students at Newton's Jackson School, according to a release.

Fifth-grade students collaborated with Bren Bataclan to create a visual depiction of the school's mission statement, which was completed in one of the school's conference rooms. Bataclan, a nationally known artist, will return to the school for a dedication ceremony later this winter.

“The arts are an important part of our curriculum. The children were excited to see their thoughts translated into another medium. Now their mission has symbolically come to life in a large mural that is installed in our school.” said Susan Niden, principal of the Jackson School.

Bataclan's background is in computer animation. Through his Smile Project, he leaves paintings in public spaces with encouragement for passers-by to take the paintings home and enjoy them. He also works with galleries who display his paintings and more recently, with schools on various art projects.

Bataclan worked with Jackson School on two previous occasions - talking about the Smile Project in 2004, and creating an art wall with the school's third graders in 2007.

In November 2010, Bren began conversations with the fifth graders, asking them what the mission statement meant to them, discussing each phrase of the statement and eliciting from students the images that the statement called to mind. Students then worked on the imagery in groups, while Bataclan did the painting.

“I really enjoy my work with students. They are so responsive and creative,” Bataclan said.

Students worked with teachers to create the mission statement for the school last spring. Niden said she began exploring ways to depict it in September, before deciding on a mural.

For mire information on Bataclan's work, visit bataclan.com.

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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