Jamie Zbrzezny, art teacher at the junior high, said her art classes worked on the mosaic tile mural in cooperation with the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts artist Laura Jean McLaughlin.
“It turned out beautifully,” Zbrzezny said. “We are all so proud of our hard work and final product.”
Savannah Bell, an eighth-grader, said she helped contribute to the "Bridger bee" section of the mural. She described the process as “fun.”
“It was really cool because we got to meet a special artist from our city. She made the mural with us and we got to learn the process of how to make a mural,” Savannah said. “Everybody’s ideas were matched into one.”
Students first sketched out their ideas based on what they felt represented the school culture. Those ideas were then combined into one final image. With the collaboration of nearly everyone in the school, Zbrzezny said the mural was completed in just three weeks.
An unveiling and opening took place on Thursday, May 8.
The school received grant funding and support from several sources to cover the cost of the artist and project, including the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, the McSwigan Family Foundation and PNC Charitable Trust. McLaughlin donated many of her own materials as well, Zbrzezny said.
Tony Amadio, interim principal, said this particular lesson and project brought everyone together.
“Every kid was excited everyday, contributing, focused. You didn’t have to entice them to want to do it. They wanted to be a part of it,” he said.
Amadio said the visiting artist came 11 different times to the school and students worked on the mural in between, leaving a legacy to inspire future students. Amadio said the hope is to expand the mural into other open spaces in the entrance hallway.
“I think it’s going to be a piece that will incite emotion for years to come here and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to do it,” Amadio said. “When kids come back to the building in the future they’re going to tell their kids, ‘I was involved with that.’ ”
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