Willow Brook artists complete new outdoor art installation

Willow Brook Elementary students and staff recently completed a unique outdoor art installation. Inspired by street artist Kelsey Montague and funding provided by a grant from the Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers, art teacher Dawn Lynn created a permanent butterfly wings mural consisting of ceramic tiles in the school’s garden. 

“Here in our corner at Willow Brook, we want to invite the school community to enjoy our school garden year-round and interact with our school-wide collaborative art project,” Lynn wrote. “Where will our wings take you?”

Students and staff created radial patterned flowers at school and Villemade learners were able to pick up the supplies to complete the project at home. 

This is the first art installation at the school that is part of the exterior of the building. 

“We hope people come to be a part of it and that it uplifts others,” Lynn said. "The goal is to have people interact with it and have fun.”

Titled “#willowbrookwings,” the project can be seen from Schuetz Road and is open to the public to take pictures in front of during non-school hours. 

The Maritz Arts and Education Fund for Teachers offers schools and teachers unique funding opportunities to support creativity in the classroom. It awarded Willow Brook with a grant to support the classroom-based art project during the 2019-2020 academic year. Due to COVID, that project extended to this year.

“[I’m] super grateful to the Arts Education Council for all their work in supporting the arts,” Lynn wrote. “Willow Brook was one of 14 schools in the bi-state region awarded funds to support creativity in the classroom and engage children in the creative process.”

Willow Brook was awarded $1,200 to purchase the clay and glaze. 

“The fun began when our students created tiles using White Earthenware Cone 6 and glazed them with AMACO Celadon glazes,” Lynn wrote. “We use Loctite Power Grab adhesive for all of our tiled art installations.”

The maintenance department installed six cement boards and framed them with PVC. It was sealed with RedGard waterproofing and painted with Sherwin Williams exterior paint.

Earlier this year, members of Girl Scout Troop 1280 working toward their Bronze Awards decided to refurbish the outdoor classroom and learning space, putting in over $4,000 worth of materials and adding a free Little Library.

“It’s such a great space for our students,” Lynn said. “I hope they enjoy going out there to be together and to learn.”


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