The spirit of an elementary school slated for closure next fall was expressed and preserved on Sunday, April 21 when students and staff came together to create a gigantic, multi-part mural under the direction of celebrated artist Milton Bowens. Washington Elementary School, established in 1869, is one of seven under-enrolled elementary schools that the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Education voted last month to close. Students from Washington will attend either William Land in or Theodore Judah in East Sacramento, depending on their address.
As a way of easing the transition process, sixth grade teacher Kim Williams worked with Bowens on an innovative mural project. Students were asked to draw images capturing the school’s “spirit.” Bowens, a nationally recognized artist whose multi-media pieces are collected by such celebrities as LeBron James, then worked to incorporate common themes from the drawings into a cohesive, colorful design.
On Sunday, April 28, the design was projected onto six panels measuring 8 feet-by-4 feet and an outline created. Students painted the panels following the outline – a sort of collaborative paint-by-numbers project.
Once completed, the mural was split into halves of three panels each. One half will go with Washington students to William Land and the other half will be displayed at Theodore