Fifth-graders create inspirational mural for future students

Fifth-graders create inspirational mural for future students
Tallena Huffman works on a legacy mural project at Central Riverside Elementary School.

Artist Nicole Holderbaum of Jax Kids Mural Project began her 23rd Duval County public school visit this year with thoughtfulness and humor in a brainstorming session with Central Riverside Elementary School students.

“How many of you have been taught to not write or draw on the walls?” she asked the 20 fifth graders. Of course, all hands went up.

But, as the morning progressed, the students of Jackie Mc Millan’s academically talented and Lisa Bond’s gifted students were doing just that on a 20-foot wall inside the school. 

“The creativity of our students never ceases to amaze me,” said Dinah Stewart, school principal. “The theme they came up with for the mural – Have faith and just keep on swimming! – is just awesome.”

Holderbaum interpreted the students’ ideas on the wall with bold black strokes all the while continuing a dialogue and adding finishing touches to the design before directing students 10 at a time to come up and paint.

Murmurs of “Wow! This is so cool,” were heard as the students saw their concept come alive. “It’s my last year at CRES so we are sending out a message to the kids behind us to keep trying to accomplish their dreams,” said fifth-grade student Tallena Huffman about the legacy mural.

Holderbaum explained the Jax Kids Mural Project’s focus is about “empowering kids with the opportunity to design a mural by working together and promoting a theme.”

The project is part of the Arts Alive Program funded by a PNC Grant. Holderbaum is continuing the project for Title 1 Schools in Jacksonville with 40 murals being completed by the end of the year.

By Peggy Harrell Jennings
Resident Community News

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