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Charles F. Tigard Elementary goes to the birds

Metal birds painted by students placed on permanent display around school building.


SUBMITTED PHOTO - Students at Charles F. Tigard Elementary School pose with the birds they painted, now part of a permanent art installation on the outside of the building.Just in time for the end of the school year, the students at Charles F. Tigard Elementary School are spreading their wings and flying away.

Late last month, the school erected two large permanent sculptures outside the school, made by students and a local business.

In April, students across the school painted large colorful metal birds as part of an art literacy project devoted to the life and work of John James Audubon, the 19th century naturalist and painter famous for his paintings of America’s birds.

The metal birds were made by Commercial Design Systems Inc., a Sherwood firm. On May 24 the birds were put on display, flying from large metal trees fastened to the school’s building.

“We wanted to end our year big, and we went very big,” Kim Benedetti, a volunteer who teaches art literacy at CFT, told The Times earlier this year. “We wanted to do something so that (kids) could come back to CFT and say, ‘That’s my artwork.’”

Every student at the school painted a bird, nearly all of which were mounted to the outside of the school on large metal trees.

It cost CDS about $2,500 in donated materials and labor, according to the Tigard-Tualatin School District. The elementary school supplied an additional $1,000 to the project.

“Commercial Design Systems has provided our schools, students and parent volunteers with a wonderfully creative experience,” said Wendy McDonnal, the district’s art literacy coordinator. “…(the sculptures) will adorn our school and be appreciated for many years to come. The presence of these works will help us emphasize the importance of art in our curriculum and community.”

Lindsey Smith, an art literacy volunteer, said that the project offered the students the chance to do something new.

“(The project) not only enhances our school building, but it has also given our students the opportunity to work with a new medium: metal,” Smith said.

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Colorful, student-painted birds 'fly' across the exterior wall of Charles F. Tigard Elementary School.