Art students at Golden Secondary School are leaving behind a legacy that they will be able to come back and appreciate for years to come.
Thanks to a grant from Art Starts, art teacher Barry Johnson was able to bring in local artist Jane Tevelein Doel for a group project.
“Jane actually brought the concept to us. I applied for a grant, and she came to the class as an artist in residence,” said Johnson. “The theme is called origins. We asked the kids to take a look at how they, or their family, arrived in Golden, and what the story is around that.”
The flowing mural (designed to look like a winding road) brings 44 tiles together. Each student told their family stories through their tiles, and then pieced them together. One student’s tiles told the story of their grandparents working on the railway, while another tried to depict their grandparent’s experiences in the Second World War Japanese internment camp in New Denver.
“The students were actually very engaged in the story of their own origins and how they got here. And everyone did something completely different,” said Doel.
The students spent a semester working on the project, which was completed in May. Although completed, the mural didn’t make it onto the wall until the summer. Many of the students who worked on the project have not yet seen it up.
“I don’t think there’s any way you really could have looked at this project at the beginning and seen something this big and grand,” said art student, Josh Kaiser.
For many of the students this was their first time working with clay, which was then fired in a Raku kiln. The kiln was made by a student in the metal shop, and the fuel was graciously donated by Jepson Propane.
“It was technically quite challenging because some people had worked in clay before, and some people hadn’t. So they had to learn about the medium, and then work on an image that they knew was going to be displayed. And it was a one-shot deal,” said Doel. “I think it worked really well. The students did amazingly.”
“It was definitely my first time Raku firing, and working with that type of clay,” said student Harlynn Ovenden. “But it was fun, I liked it.”
“Kids who were in the class who were very unconfident about working with clay, Jane brought them along to a point where they surprised themselves at how well their tiles turned out. And that’s a testament to Jane, and how she could build their confidence and give them the support to do that,” said Johnson.
The mural is located on the wall across from the library. Although art classes have created murals and paintings that have been displayed in the school, this project is the most permanent display the art class has ever produced.
“It’s really neat because we’ll get grads coming back to look around the school… Now they’ll be able to look over here and look at a piece of themselves that they’ve left behind.”
Other students who worked on the project were: Casey Dubois, Amy Elewin, Stephanie Lareau, Laurenz Mettenheimer, Sayaka Nozaki, Kylee Won, Taylor Barrault, Makayla Beam, Luke Carbonneau, Nicholas Grace, Paige Hiraoka, Ashley Horvath, Brittany Lillies, Destiny Loughlin, Courtney McLeod, Yannik Minsch, Mike Schuck, Paul Stanton, Kris Webber and Victoria Ewing.