Friday, August 19, 2011

Back to School Makeover in Green and Purple

Sometime last winter or spring (I can't quite remember), another local designer and I were approached about "making over" the entryway/lobby of our children's local elementary school.  

My twins are extremely fortunate to attend a small neighborhood school brimming with faculty talent, strong leadership, and a heck of a lot of heart.  It feels good to send my girls off daily to a diverse learning community that takes care of itself - from lovingly coaxing a terrified new kindergartener out of her mini-van in the parking lot (not naming names, but that might have been one of mine), to gently remembering a staff member lost too soon in a car accident, to making sure every student will be happily surprised with a gift at the holidays, these folks have got it covered.

Because I taught at schools across the spectrum (East Harlem to Greenwich, CT), I totally get that the physical environment of a school is no measure of the learning that happens inside its walls.  So I'm OK  with the fact that my kids' school is a little, let's say, "rough around the edges" in terms of its physical appearance.  At the same time, however, I want our students to feel their community values their learning (and safety), and wish that could be conveyed more aptly in their physical surroundings.  Likewise, I'd love for an already underpaid and overworked staff to enter a building each day that could make them feel valued, important, or even just a little... happy.

So, with a budget of just a few hundred dollars (and only a few days to complete!), the mini-makeover has begun!

Last Spring, we kicked off the project by having the school's art teacher brilliantly create this piece with her students, to be suspended from the entryway ceiling:

The sculpture, inspired by the work of renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly, is several feet high, and was created by melting various pieces of plastic champagne flutes, forks, knives and spoons that the children had painted and colored.  It will be the permanent centerpiece of the entryway (and meets firecode since it's not paper - yeah!).

To seat the volunteers who meet and greet in the lobby, I snagged a beat-up chair (with great bones) from the dump.  I'd love the kids to see that there's still value in things that might look old and dumpy, and reenforce that we reuse and recycle!  Here's the chair this morning:

And here it is this afternoon:

Now it's off to the upholsterer who promised to have it ready in time for the start of school in a week and a half!

Pulling from the floor tile, and dominant colors in the Chihuly piece, we decided on a color scheme of green and purple.  A bunch of mom volunteers showed up with their paint brushes yesterday morning, and we've made some great progress!

For reasons involving safety and security, I won't post school photos, but here are some inspirational images in green and purple to give you the idea!

Have a great weekend!

1 comment:

  1. Brilliant to have the art teacher supervise the sculpture ... and it's so inspired! What a wonderful space it's going to be!