Welcome to Laurie Goodman's blog. I use this space to share news and opinions about education and schools in Ridgewood, the state of New Jersey and the nation, in addition to other issues I'm personally interested in. I invite you to share your thoughts, feelings, questions or opinions, too, by posting comments on any blog entry. Please observe basic courtesy -- keep your comments focused on issues, no personal attacks or bullying, please. Contact me directly at: lauriegood@mac.com

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

“The Fabric of Ridgewood.”

Have you ever wondered about the full-wall mural on the 3rd floor of the Ed Center? I have…to my mind, it’s always been there, but I also know that some of the portraits were done my the children of friends, so it can’t be that old (because I’m not that old!).

So I asked around and got this story:

The mural’s theme is The Fabric of Ridgewood. It was created during the 1997-98 school year and was coordinated by Somerville Art Teacher Samantha Stankiewicz (nee Bennett). The mural was created by artist Michael Smyth and funded by a grant from the Ridgewood Education Foundation. The concept was that the mural should reflect the children's idea of Ridgewood. As research, he gathered sketches from students at every elementary school and created the mural design based on their ideas. All the art submitted by the students was collected and placed in a bound scrapbook, which I saw the other day in the smaller 3rd floor conference room. (It was neat to see art from kids’ who I remember from long ago, who are now college graduates!) The self-portraits that surround the mural were done by Ridgewood students in their art classes. The handprints are of children in the Village. On a set day, all children who wanted were invited to come to the Ed Center, dip their hands in paint and make a print on the wall.

I discovered that there is a large plaque on the wall in the 3rd floor Board Room which describes the process and lists the names of each student who contributed to it. Nest time you’re on the 3rd floor, check it out: if you are facing the mural, the plaque is in the right-hand corner of the room (behind a large plant).

One of the Ed Center staff told me that the artist’s small son would sometimes accompany his father when he painted, and amused himself by hammering with the Board President’s gavel. So cute!

The next time you’re at the Ed Center, take a closer look at the mural…it’s really something and a Ridgewood treasure. (I should have taken a photo to include here...I'll try to grab one next time and post.)

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