FALL RIVER — Visitors to Talbot Middle School and Henry Lord Community School may notice some bright new additions to the school buildings — new murals that include art from students.
“It sort of sends a message to the community,” said Brian Raposo, principal at Talbot. “We’re investing in our kids and in our community.”
The murals were painted this past week by New York artist John Westbay, as part of a partnership with Coaching4Change, an area non-profit that connects college students to school districts in cities like Fall River, New Bedford and Providence to provide mentoring for younger students. At Henry Lord, a large indoor mural features the school’s slogans, surrounded by designs created by students there. At Talbot, two murals on the front of the building now greet visitors: a black heart and a yellow one, the school’s colors, also surrounded by student art reproduced by Westbay.
The murals are a way of brightening up the school and exposing students to art on a daily basis, said Pete Berman, a cofounder of Coaching4Change who visited the school on Friday to see the murals. “School culture is such an important part of the education experience, for students and even staff,” he said. Westbay visited students in their art classes earlier in the week to brainstorm for the project and to talk to them about what it’s like to be a professional artist. “This whole week’s been a lot of fun,” he said. “When (Coaching4Change) called, it was a very easy ‘yes.'”Raposo said the project is also a chance for students who might be interested in the arts to discover their passion. “This might be the way they shine,” he said. “If we’re not providing them with these opportunities, how do we know we’re not missing their strengths?”