Collection of more than 600 clay portraits will be permanent fixture at elementary schoolPointers Run Elementary School fourth grader Ellie Matthews approached the 32 foot long mural and searched among the more than 600 glazed clay portraits for her place in posterity.
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The school worked with mosaic artist Amanda Pellerin to craft the mural, which is 31/2 feet high and includes portraits and other works that school officials painted on paper. The paper works were then placed atop moist slabs of clay and etched into the clay.
"It was really fun,
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The students etched again,
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"It’s an everlasting souvenir to the community," Pointers Run art teacher Lisa Huriaux said. "Having the students have a piece of work that will live on forever is a great gift."
The project was part of the Howard County Arts Council’s efforts to provide schools with funding for artists in residence. The council and the Pointers Run PTA,
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"The most exciting thing is that I worked with every single student in the school," Pellerin said. "Because the assignment was the same for all ages, it was exciting to see, across the board,
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Students began crafting the mural in November and completed it in January. It was mounted during spring break but officially unveiled during a celebration that included recognition of staff who, like Huriaux, have worked at the school since its beginning 20 years ago.
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"It’s a birthday gift," fourth grader Annabel Smoot said about the mural. "It was fun to paint it because it was hard to find the right color of paint."
The mural is among more than 250 student works of art that are on permanent display at the school. Other works include framed paintings, stained glass, murals,
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Principal Darlene Fila, who has led the school since 2000, said the mural unveiling and celebration are among several events Pointers Run has used to welcome the more than 170 students from Fulton Elementary who will enroll at Pointers Run next school year as part of Howard County schools redistricting.
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Fila said she has emphasized the arts since she arrived at the school, but that arts education often gets overshadowed by emphasis on science, technology, engineering and mathematics the STEM subjects important to schools’ efforts to meet federal education guidelines.
Pointers Run works to incorporate those STEM subjects and the arts, Fila said. Students who crafted the mural got firsthand lessons about shapes and symmetry, while the school’s recent science fair featured students singing and playing instruments while parents visited the exhibits.