KENSINGTON INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL 4th Grade Mural
‘Strength in Numbers’ article images
This year's Kensington fourth grade class is creating a piece of art based on the theme of unity. Their finished project will depict a coral reef. The artist working with them, Erin Delventhal, refers to a piece of coral on the table in the art room. "Corals are built by colorful tiny coral polyps. As the polyps secrete layers of calcium carbonate, they build the framework for the coral reef ecosystem" she explains. “Even though these coral polyps are small in size, together they are strong and very important to the health of the oceans. Just like the small decisions this generation can make to eliminate single-use plastics to help preserve our oceans and lakes in a big way." Mrs. Delventhal and art teacher Sarah Braddock worked with every student to help him or her create a part of an underwater world, to be collectively titled "Strength In Numbers." Also helping with the project is Laura Lazzaro, Kensington PTA President. The project is funded by the PTA.
Each student painted a sea anemone, seaweed, fish, or segment of coral. The kids are painting these on segments of paper that's upcycled (reused) from store signs. Pieced together, the paintings will create a coral reef.
To create their paintings, the students learned an artistic process known as "sgraffito." Sgraffito is a process in which a base color is topped with a contrasting color. Then, textures, lines, and patterns are drawn on the top layer to reveal the color underneath.
In addition, each child painted a sea creature onto a reclaimed wood block to take home. Mrs. Delventhal created these individual "block canvases" using scrap wood from a construction site, which she then primed with unused house paint. "Choosing up-cycled wood over purchasing canvases for 250 kids, that come individually wrapped in plastic, keeps all that single-use plastic out of landfills and water systems" she points out. The artist used this example to help the kids come up with everyday examples on their own to help reduce Single-Use plastics and educating them on the impact they are having on water systems, wildlife and the global environment. For example, when getting an ice cream cone at Mitchell’s Ice Cream, instead of ordering a cup which requires a single-use plastic spoon, order a cone instead. At home, choose to use bars of soap instead of liquid soap in a plastic bottle, which can take over 400 years to decompose. By making small decisions such as these, students can help the environment in a big way.