Since September, the ASPire kids have been hard at work on a transformative project. If you visit the ground floor of the Main Building, just down the hall opposite the cafeteria stairs, you'll see walls in the process of becoming an Amazon rainforest at night, a field of growing wildflowers, a library nook, and a beehive filled with honey.
This is no ordinary mural project. Joli Harnish led the team of five-to-ten-year-olds through a design thinking process, where the team performed research in the Friends Free Library and generated and refined their ideas through evolving sticky note brainstorms. They considered a lot of questions to guide their plans: Why is a wall with art on it better than a blank wall? Who will see the mural? How can the art represent the ASPire program? They gave thought to the visitor experience, and measured the hallway's 17 walls, which they translated into a cardboard scale model.
"Since January, when we began putting the paint on the wall, it's really become a different kind of sensory experience for the kids. They've felt the space transform and have developed a shared sense of ownership. The designs continue to evolve as they collaborate and have new breakthroughs each day," Joli says.
As they paint, Joli helps the young mural artists understand how to create a sense of depth, scale, and perspective through layers of carefully chosen color and a signature patterning style invented by the group. The kids have learned about the different atmospheric effects they can create through warm and cool and light and dark colors.
When you visit the mural area, notice that at least one wall is still completely blank. This untouched wall is being saved for the Mural Arts mini-course being offered in the sixth week of Explorer Camp, directed by Harnish this year at Summertime at GFS. So, if you have a budding muralist, be sure to check it out!