Mu­rals in­spire stu­dents at Pine Grove Ele­men­tary

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - Society Scene - Palm Beach - - Front Page -

Pub­lic art not only bright­ens drab, util­i­tar­ian spa­ces, it also kin­dles learn­ing as it in­spires stu­dents. Pine Grove Ele­men­tary School re­cently adorned its court­yard with col­or­ful mu­rals.

“The in­side of the court­yard will cre­ate a world they will want to get to ev­ery day,” said Pine Grove Prin­ci­pal Joe Pec­cia. The fresh paint and re­ju­ve­nated land­scap­ing show stu­dents that the ad­min­is­tra­tion val­ues them.”

The Del­ray Beach Ini­tia­tive spear­headed the project, or­ga­niz­ing a paint-a-thon on Aug. 2 and do­nat­ing break­fast, lunch and sup­plies. Sharon Koskoff and sev­eral Art in the Al­ley artists vol­un­teered their time and ma­te­ri­als to cover the court­yard walls.

Pec­cia and Koskoff chose to dec­o­rate the walls with el­e­ments that il­lus­trate the link be­tween Del­ray and the school. The city’s nat­u­ral beauty, sea life and his­tory con­nect ed­u­ca­tion with the chil­dren’s world­view.

“The con­nec­tion we want to make is that it’s rel­a­tive to what they can grab,” Pec­cia said. “It’s not out of their reach. These are things they can be a part of.” Rather than fan­tasy fig­ures that are for­got­ten as chil­dren ma­ture, Pec­cia hopes the lo­cal link will mo­ti­vate stu­dents to give back to the city when they’ve com­pleted their ed­u­ca­tion.

Koskoff, a chair­woman on the city’s Pub­lic Art Ad­vi­sory Board, has a pro­lific re­sume. Some of her pub­lic works are found in Vet­er­ans Park, the city court­house and onWest At­lantic Av­enue and the At­lantic Av­enue bridge un­der­pass.

“I painted over 30 mu­rals through­out Pine Grove 18 years ago,” Koskoff said. To start up­dat­ing, last Au­gust she painted the school’s logo in the hall­way. The col­ors are neu­tral and so­phis­ti­cated and got the year off to a fresh start.

Koskoff has painted sev­eral Del­ray bus shel­ters with chil­dren’s art­work. Stu­dents at Plu­mosa School of the Arts de­signed pro­to­types for con­sid­er­a­tion. Koskoff trans­posed the se­lected works onto trans­par­ent panels, which are mounted in the bus stop.

The panels let light through cre­at­ing a fun space that builds pride in the com­mu­nity, while giv­ing stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to be artists, Koskoff said.

Plu­mosa’s vis­ual art in­struc­tor Jamie Davis said that for chil­dren pub­lic art cul­ti­vates a larger view of the fu­ture.

“It makes the con­nec­tion that this is some­thing more that I can do to con­nect to the world, not just at school,” Davis said.

As ele­men­tary stu­dents go into mid­dle school, they will choose which di­rec­tion to steer their ed­u­ca­tion. The re­al­iza­tion that art is an area they can do well in opens their dreams to larger pos­si­bil­i­ties - whether it’s science, sports or the arts.

“They love it when they go by and see kids’ art in a huge dis­play, so pro­fes­sion­ally done,” Davis said. “It gives them in­spi­ra­tion and hope; we need a lot of hope.”

Plu­mosa School of the Arts stu­dent Drake Shutt’s art­work dec­o­rates a Del­ray Beach bus shel­ter.

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