Bradley tunnel mural project brings children and local artist together
London Community News
By Sean Meyer/London Community News/Twitter: Newswriter22
Students from Rick Hansen and White Oaks public schools along with London artist Andrew Gillet celebrated a unique community project that will serve to beautify a pedestrian tunnel that connects the two schools.
The children and Gillet joined other guests on Friday (Oct. 5) to celebrate the unveiling of the City of London Community Public Art Project - Bradley Pedestrian Tunnel Murals.
The Parent Teacher Association at White Oaks Public School approached the City of London’s culture office and the London Arts Council with the idea of having the two schools involved in a beautifying of the parkland by painting murals on the pedestrian tunnel.
“What you have created today is an absolutely fantastic monument to not only creativity, but to good art. We should have every one of our tunnels and our bridges looking like this,” said Mayor Joe Fontana. “This is a perfect model of collaboration, partnerships. You have not only painted a great tunnel, but you have inspired a lot of us to think outside the box, to think anything is possible if we all work together.”
The project involved 20 children in grades 7 and 8 who worked with London mural artist Gillet. The murals on both sides of the tunnel took 10 days to complete, but the work began three years before the first brush hit the concrete.
Students gave their suggestions for the two designs — and, under the guidance of the artist — painted the mural. Gillet expressed his thanks to students and staff of both schools “for their ideas and invaluable assistance” that went into the project.
“We decided to use the students even more by getting them to paint. I don’t think that was the original idea, but we decided it would be a great idea and it certainly was,” Gillet said. “It is 140 feet by six feet and we did that in less than 10 days. That was a huge amount of work to do. The students were not just asked to come out and play. They truly added to the production of what we did.”
Valerie Nielsen, superintendent of Education at the Thames Valley District School Board, praised the efforts of everyone involved in the project. "The Bradley Avenue Tunnel Project is a beautiful example of collaboration that will live on for years to come for students of White Oaks Public School and Rick Hansen Public School, their families and neighbourhood residents.”
London’s Community Public Art Program is a partnership initiative of the City of London culture office and London Arts Council. The program was designed to create art that is accessible to the public through engagement of community members.
The culture office and the London Arts Council worked together with the school board and community members to facilitate the commissioning of Gillet’s assistance in the children’s design and painting the murals.
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