Murals inspire students at Pine Grove Elementary
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.