Russell Elementary students get to draw on school’s walls

Telegraph correspondentJune 4, 2014 

Jennifer Gotrich, art teacher at Russell Elementary School, drew action figures on the walls of the school’s gymnasium, and art club members filled them in with black paint.

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Typically, you aren’t supposed to encourage kids to draw on the walls. But at Russell Elementary School, the art teacher has done exactly that -- given the members of the art club permission to draw on the walls.

The school recently underwent some renovations including work on the gym’s ceiling and repainted walls.

“It was a giant blank canvas,” said Jennifer Gotrich, who has taught art at Russell Elementary School for six years. “It needed a lot of color added to it; I knew that I wanted to paint some kind of mural on it.”

Gotrich said that she wanted to come up with a design that was simple so that the art club could help her.

What she drew out on the walls was a series of silhouetted students participating in sports or activities -- from football to skateboarding. Gotrich did the drawings but the art club members filled in the figures with black paint.

The project took about a month and was finished about a week before school got out for the summer.

“We came up with ideas of what kind of sports we wanted to see on the walls,” said art club member Alana Maddox, who just completed the fifth grade.

Gotrich herself was a member of an art club when she was a child and actually started teaching art during her college days.

“Art is very therapeutic and is a great way to express yourself,” said Gotrich, who also said that a trick to being an art teacher is not only to teach students things about art but to find projects that every student can be successful doing.

Along with helping draw on the walls, members of the art club also signed the corner of their canvas -- the corner of the gym wall.

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