Fourth-grade students at Pioneer Path in Channahon had hopes of adding their own artwork to the side of the District 17 bus barn near their school.
Last year’s fourth-graders were the first to paint a mural on the bus barn and this year’s students wanted a shot at painting a mural and making it a tradition for the outgoing class at Pioneer Path.
“Last year two fourth-graders developed the idea,” District 17 art teacher Megan Stytz said. “It was so successful we decided to continue it.”
Now their handiwork adorns the opposite side of the bus barn, jazzing it up and leaving a statement by the students.
The project was open to all fourth-graders, and on May 17, more than 37 of them took two-hour shifts painting flowers on the wall. The result is a field of flowers personalized by each artist.
Stytz prepared the wall in advance, painting the background and outlining flower petals with chalk. Students were free to deviate from her design if they chose.
When students arrived for their shift, they planned out a design on paper so they had an idea in mind. Then they used the skills and techniques they learned in art classes to make their flowers unique.
Student Sadie Barker loves kittens, she said. So she thought long and hard beforehand about how she could incorporate them into her design.
“I came up with a cat flower,” she said.
Aiden Croft took another route. He likes mixing and experimenting with colors. He learned to draw skulls in art class so he fused the two into his flower.
Ryan Isdonas used multiple patterns in each petal, adding balance to his design.
And Kayla Widlowski made hers more realistic, using simple colors and adding shading with darker and lighter ones.
There are as many different and unique flower designs as there are students who painted them.
“I really like seeing the different things people did on their flowers,” Kayla said.
The day was not just about painting – which was a lot of fun – but also about community, Stytz said.
Ball games were happening at the Channahon Baseball fields that Saturday so the artists got a lot of attention from parents, students and players.
The students got to do something they enjoy while visiting with friends and classmates that they might not have had an opportunity to visit with before – a great way to strike up new friendships during the last few days of school.
There’s one more side to the bus barn for incoming fourth-grade students to carry on the tradition. After that, Stytz hopes there will be more buildings in the district the students can leave their mark on.
• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and issues in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.