Lakeridge Junior High mural honors painted-over Bryant artwork
A year after Lakeridge Junior High School Principal Kurt Schultz painted over a mural at Bryant Elementary School, another work of art has taken its place.
Bryant was closed as an elementary school in 2012 and became repurposed as a gym for next-door-neighbor LJHS. With LJHS kids using the gym, Schultz wanted it to be more welcoming to them. So, last summer he painted over the mural that Bryant kids and an artist-in-residence had made together there. The blank, blue wall broke a few hearts and spurred a lot of media coverage.
Seeking to fix the faux pas, Schultz apologized and then held a contest for a student to fashion a replacement mural that would recognize both schools, since Bryant potentially could re-open.
Students voted, and Sidney Oster, an eighth-grader at the time, walked away with the award. Lake Oswegos Graphic Print Solutions produced a large-scale printout of her mural, adhering it to the gym wall earlier this month.
I still feel like I could have handled that whole process better, but were certainly glad to have Sidneys work up there, and we think it will be a nice addition to that gym, Schultz said.
Sidney wielded high-quality markers to depict two multi-colored, impressionistic trees with interlacing branches. The old mural also had two trees on either side of it, which Sidney wanted to honor.
I had the trees twining together in the middle to represent the schools coming together, Sidney said. I put in lightning bolts because thats our school logo.
Seeking inspiration, she said she searched the Internet for trees that were bright and colorful but still resembled trees.
Now an incoming Lakeridge High School freshman, Sidney said her parting gift to her old school doesnt feel quite the same as the original undertaking. The $4,800, Parent Teacher Association-funded, month-long project in 2010 involved the Bryant Elementary School student body, many school employees and parents, and former Artist-in-Residence Betsy Reid.
Im very proud to have (my mural) up there, but I dont think its going to be quite as special as the old one because all the kids got to help out with it, said Sidney, 14. Its not just one persons creation. Everybody in the schools help and work and creation went into it.
The two murals are different. The old mural said Bryant in rainbow letters and the new one says Lakeridge JH in green hues. But the old mural has preserved in Sidneys work with the words, As we grow, we honor the past and look to the future.
The old mural may be gone, but at least it wasnt forgotten, said Sidneys mother, Karen Oster, a patent attorney.
Creating the replacement mural soothed her daughter, who came from Westridge Elementary to the junior high but still was saddened by what had happened.
I think it meant a lot to her on a personal level; I think when she heard the original story, she was pretty upset about it, Oster said. Because she likes art so much, she really felt for the kids who did the old mural.
Oster said her daughter doesnt see the mural as something she did for herself or won the right to do.
Its a mural for everybody, Oster said.
Contact Jillian Daley at 503-636-1281 ext. 109 or firstname.lastname@example.org.