Hunnewell Elementary School students recently unveiled their artistic vision of Wellesley, created out of cut paper and glue with the assistance of artist-in-residence Giles Laroche and art teacher Anne Whelan. From the Hunnewell Barn on the Natick line to the Warren building, edging closer to Newton, the students created the various elements that make up the town. Look carefully and you’ll spot houses, civic buildings, commercial buildings, natural elements, people, well-loved shops, and more.
The project, sponsored by Hunnewell’s PTO Creative Arts & Sciences Committee, was developed as a way to mesh the arts with the social studies curriculum. Laroche spent his 4-day residency working with students in all grade levels during their art classes. The sum of so many parts is a permanent, collaborative art mural that now hangs in the school’s busiest hallway.
Laroche attended Montserrat College of Art in Beverly and has conducted programs as an artist-in-residence at elementary and middle schools in the Northeast for over twenty years. In addition, he has illustrated eleven children’s books, including his most recent project, If You Lived Here: Houses of the World, (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt).
The members of the 285-student body who are sticking around to finish up their elementary school education will undoubtably enjoy their daily view of the three framed components of the collage that shows where they live. But whether they were kindergarteners with years of Hunnewell ahead of them as the mural was being created, or 5th graders on their way to clapping-out, the project is likely to become one of those touchstones that students just have to check in on when they come back to see what’s doing at their old school.