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Art of Empowerment Mural Reveal!

If you’ve been following our blog series, you’ll know that way back in February, WWF put out a call to schools to enter our Art of Empowerment school mural contest. The contest ran in collaboration with Earth Foundation, a BC-based organization that works with young people to bring conservation messages to life — as amazing pieces of public art!

A Grade 12 art class at Holy Cross Regional High School in Surrey, BC, won the contest, and they have spent the final half of their final year of high school (happy summer/grad everyone!) on quite the art assignment. With the mural ALL DONE, Brenna Maduro, one of the students behind the winning application, has this to say:

It seems like yesterday we won the Art of Empowerment contest. Three months have gone by quickly since then and, now, it all comes down to the finished product: the mural!

When we first met Todd, we were all very overwhelmed by the prospect of working with an actual artist. Through his guidance and help, the Art 12 class was able to come up with a design that perfectly portrayed our message and would bring our whole school community together. This project was all student-led and many of us became leaders out of this whole experience. We wanted to show how people can live in harmony with animals in one environment. This mural took a lot of preparation and planning to get the final design. However, in the end we were able to come up with an amazing image illustrating different species of land and water animals from different biomes of the world.

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

Apart from the Art 12 class, the Volunteer support group consisted of 30 dedicated students in grades 10 and 11, who all took their own time to help blog, take pictures and film the progress of the mural, which made this whole project a great success through everyone’s equal efforts and dedication. We were also very fortunate to have had the grade 4 class from St. Matthews Elementary to help us paint. We received such enthusiasm from them as they accompanied us, which was a joy to have.  Through the progress of the mural, many students from Holy Cross would come by to take a look at the mural and we received incredible feedback from each student that went by. Even students from the elementary school would all crowd in front of their window across from us to watch as well, which was very touching and inspiring for all of us working on the mural.

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

The unveiling ceremony of the mural was very emotional for all Art 12 students, the Volunteer support group, as well as for our teacher sponsors and the rest of the school community. The Art of Empowerment mural enabled us to leave a strong legacy behind for our school community to appreciate all that we had done for our environment all thanks to the WWF and Earth Foundation.

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

Geet Cheema / Jennifer Cutinho

As much as this project was student-led, it also couldn’t have happened without Art 12 teacher Marlene Volentier. After all, she’s the one who suggested her students apply and got the whole school community on board to support this incredible, unforgettable project! At the mural reveal event last Friday, Marlene gave a touching speech, and wanted to share a portion of it here on the WWF blog:
Thank you WWF for giving us this incredible and unforgettable opportunity.  Through this mural, our students were able to demonstrate their passion not only for art but especially our environment.  It displays the enormous dedication we have towards helping our planet.  You have provided us with the opportunity to inspire our students and schools to continue their efforts in conservation and living in harmony with nature…

Todd you are such an inspiration to all.  Since you stepped foot, or should I say ‘stepped barefoot’, into our classroom, you have been such a positive role model.  From day one, you encouraged the students and myself to take risks with our art and gave us the confidence to succeed.

If you want to see more of the mural, The Province, BC Catholic and the Surrey Leader all ran stories recently.

WWF’s Schools for a Living Planet connects educators and students of all ages to WWF’s conservation work. Join the S4LP community and learn how you can inspire your classrooms and classmates to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.