New murals bring color and joy as Littlebrook culminates big project
HAPPY MURALS IN LITTLEBROOK: Students and staff at Littlebrook Elementary School recently completed a six-wall interior mural project during a three-week residency with mural artist Caren Olmsted and a large exterior mural developed in collaboration with the Princeton Arts Council. (Photo courtesy of Princeton Public Schools)
By Donald Gilpin
Covering six walls from floor to ceiling, the new murals at Littlebrook Elementary School were unveiled last week. Their impact has been powerful.
“The murals have brought joy to all of us at Littlebrook,” said Littlebrook manager Luis Ramirez. The artwork, produced during a three-week residency project with mural artist Caren Olmsted, depicts the activities and traditions of the school and reflects the contribution of all students at the school.
“Our murals represent our Littlebrook community, especially our students,” Ramirez noted. “It was important that every child be represented in the artwork. Each student has their unique handprint in the murals and also participated in painting them.
He continued, “The voices of our students are represented in the murals. The children helped us with the words of welcome which are painted on the walls of our vestibule and voted to have the word GROW painted on the exterior mural. I am very proud of all of our students at Littlebrook.
The interior mural project was initiated and funded by the Littlebrook PTO, under the leadership of co-chairs Kati Dunn, Sonja Ernst and Magdalena Janas. For the exterior mural project, the PTO commissioned artists from the Princeton Arts Council to seek to enhance the look of the playground and connect to the wider community.
Janas described the elaborate process of creating the murals. “The longest phase of the project was the design itself,” she said. “Our artist Caren Olmsted listened to all input and ideas and created a very unique and original plan. Her work always includes all of the children who attend the schools in which she works. The mural would have been impossible to complete without the help from over 90 parents – countless hours of priming, painting and finishing the highest points on the walls.
Working with Olmsted, Littlebrook art teacher Colleen Dell scheduled her art lessons for several weeks, ensuring that all students were involved in painting the walls and making the murals. Greenleaf Painters, LLC donated the paint for the murals.
The first two murals, in the school’s entrance vestibule, feature student welcome words in over 30 languages on one wall and a giraffe (Littlebrook’s mascot) saying “All are welcome” on the wall. upside down on the other wall.
The “growing” wall focuses on gardening activities that students at different grade levels work on each year. It includes depictions of mother duck Littlebrook, the life cycle of butterflies, and a quote about teachers planting the seeds of knowledge.
Next, the donation house wall displays a “donation house” and shows in pictures how students can care and share, including walking a dog, playing together, and other examples of sharing and caring that students found by working with school counselor Jenny Walters. . Historical ceramics that were already on the the walls became part of the design.
The next wall features the initials “LB” along with various depictions of giraffes, a magnolia tree (Littlebrook is located on Magnolia Lane), a piece of the Delaware Canal, and a quote: “In a world where you can be anything, be nice.” Other parts of the mural include a painted shelf framing the entrance to the library and planet Earth being held by children’s hands.
“I am very happy that the PTO had the chance to improve the appearance of the school,” said Janas. “We have brought color and happiness to the space where our children and their teachers spend many hours every day.”
Ramirez expressed his gratitude to all participants who helped bring the mural project to fruition. “Special thanks to all of our students and staff for participating in the mural,” he said. “They’ve created something for everyone to enjoy for years to come.”
Princeton Public Schools Superintendent Carol Kelley added her praise and appreciation. “I love the Littlebrook murals,” she said. “I particularly like the way each student played a role, through their art lessons. It’s such a great community collaboration between the school, the students, the parents, the Arts Council and also the local business that donated all the paint.
She added: “It’s a great example of everyone working together to bring out the best of Littlebrook, and it’s resulted in these stunning murals.”