St. Paul’s students play Tom Sawyer for a day

St. Paul’s students play Tom Sawyer for a day

Mark Twain’s character Tom Sawyer may have had the right idea to enlist help whitewashing his Aunt Polly’s fence, but he had nothing on the students at St. Paul’s Catholic School.

Fifth-grade students at St. Paul’s Catholic School assist pre-kindergarten students fill in the outlines of a mural.

Fifth-grade students at St. Paul’s Catholic School assist pre-kindergarten students fill in the outlines of a mural.

After participating in the school’s annual Jog-a-Thon, students cooled down with a painting session at a 60- by 6-foot white picket fence on the property line, but it wasn’t white paint they were wielding on their brushes.

Evocative of a coloring book, boys and girls filled in the outlines of the mural created by Nicole Holderbaum, recipient of a Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville and Florida Blue 2016 SPARK grant for her program, Jax Kids Murals.

During this period of open enrollment at the school, administrators wanted to draw attention to its academic opportunities, including its art program. Holderbaum had previously created nine murals, most temporary, for engagement with children.

“St. Paul’s asked me to do a design for them, so I made one up and gave them a sketch,” she said as she sprayed the outline freehand, from memory, on the fence. “It’s going to be very symmetrical with St. Paul in the center, Mary on one side, Jesus on the other, with flowers and doves between.”

The West Palm Beach native doesn’t specify what colors should be used to fill in the outlined characters, leaving it totally up to the imagination of the children. After the students add color, Holderbaum will re-outline some of the areas where color did not stay inside the lines.

“There are only two rules,” she said. “They are not allowed to mix colors and they can’t write any words.”

Artist Nicole Holderbaum spray paints a fence at St. Paul’s Catholic School for a student mural art project.

Artist Nicole Holderbaum spray paints a fence at St. Paul’s Catholic School for a student mural art project.

Holderbaum’s program started with One Spark in 2015, and then she was asked to work on murals for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department’s summer program. In addition to Jax Kids Mural Festival, Holderbaum teaches a mural-painting class at The Foundation Academy, and she has an outreach project with a goal to take the mural project to every school and community center in Jacksonville.

As Holderbaum signed her name – Nico – to the mural with a flourish of her black spray paint, students jogged past and commented. “I like the spray paint. It’s nice,” said one little girl.

The first of four Jax Kids Mural Festival projects will be held in Hemming Park, April 2. Holderbaum will have three 20- by 8-foot walls and one 20- by 4-foot wall for the smaller children.


By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
Loading...

You must be logged in to post a comment Login