Barclay pupils brighten school, send a message

Mural: Working before, after school, children create a cheerful display, the second in a series planned in the Greater Homewood community.

February 27, 1999|By Jamie Stiehm | Jamie Stiehm,SUN STAFF

The dozen or so children had started early in the week, painting a cheerful mural on the wall in their school cafeteria. The theme: peace, unity and people working together to get things done.

Yesterday, two teachers chipped in with finishing touches, helping complete a huge heart, a pink sky, an apple tree, a bench and images of hands holding the world. The result of their work is on display in Barclay Elementary and Middle School in Charles Village.

"It really looks good," school custodian George Baskerville said. "It catches your eye."

The school, at 29th Street and Barclay Avenue, is the site of the second in a series of murals -- outdoors and indoors -- planned by the Greater Homewood Community Corp. to beautify area playgrounds and neighborhoods, organizer Odette Ramos said. The first mural, with a wrestling theme, was created recently by youths in the Hampden Family Center.

Yesterday's unveiling celebrated a week of labor for the children who submitted winning pictures, ranging from 6-year-old David Park to 14-year-old Rodney Ferebee.

David drew the model for the smiling sun. Rodney helped paint a picture of a rowhouse like the one where he lives.

The centerpiece, a heart with smaller hearts, was a concept composed by eighth-grader Lakeisha Payton. Her basketball coach was so impressed that he helped fill it in.

Art teacher Gina Rogers, 28, and Americorps VISTA member Kirk Seese, 25, agreed that the girl's heart design was, as Seese put it, "totally original." He is a 1997 graduate of the Maryland Institute, College of Art.

"It's not the highest academic achievers that wanted to work on this. Yet, obviously they're talented," said Principal David Clapp as he surveyed the wall -- previously covered in peeling institutional-blue paint. He said he expects the mural to last "forever -- long after Miss Rogers and I are gone."

Concentrating on outlines, forms and colors, the group worked during and after school this week.

"You have to direct them, push them with discipline and direction," Rogers said. Too much freedom, she said, is not good for young artists. Singling out David Eaton, 14, who encouraged others and referred to himself as a "supervisor," Rogers said he had enjoyed helping with the rowhouse. "It does a lot for him. He stays on task and focuses," Rogers said.

For Roneice Jones, 9, it was her first foray into paint. "I volunteered because never in my life have I painted before," she said.

Pointing to the connecting hands around a cup that holds the world, Brian James, 13, translated the mural's message. "It basically symbolizes that each person should help the world. The world belongs to all of us."

Pub Date: 2/27/99

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