Creativity Takes Courage Mural
Fox Lane High School Mount Kisco, NY
Fox Lane High School Creativity Takes Courage Mural
The first of The heART Project's murals, The Creativity Takes Courage 30 foot mosaic mural was created by over two hundred Fox Lane High School (FLHS) students, faculty and staff in the Fine Arts wing. The Matisse quote, "Creativity Takes Courage" is a focal point and inspiration of the mural made from donated tile and mirror from the local community. The National Art Honor Society at FLHS attended after school workshops on cutting mirror, and breaking tile, as well as creating clay hearts for the mural. The FLHS Visual Arts department rolled up their sleeves and supported the project from start to finish, leading their students in creating a collaborative public artwork.
This mural would not be possible without the instruction, constant support, encouragement and mentoring of Isaiah Zagar.
Experience the creation of Creativity Takes Courage Mural. Time lapse by Mike Burke
Fox Lane Unveils Special Art Project
Written by Millie Bowman
Printed in The Record Review, June 2018
On May 24 the art department at Fox Lane High School hosted an end-of-year art exhibit and held the National Art Honors Society induction ceremony. The National Art Honors Society students and other art students also celebrated the completion of the Bedford Central School District’s community heART project with their teachers. The heART project is a large mosaic mural, made entirely of donated art materials, which will be displayed in the high school.
The spring art exhibit program started at 6 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark its opening at 6:30 p.m. The induction ceremony followed at 7 p.m. Heather Kranz, visual art coordinator at Fox Lane, said that the art department tries “to combine our final exhibit of the year with the National Art Honors Society induction ceremony to create a good deal of energy around the events. We usually have a couple of hundred people in attendance between the art reception and the NAHS induction.”
Even though the mural project was new to Fox Lane, it was widely supported by the Fox Lane school community and BCSD, and provided a welcome addition to the year-end school events, she said.
“Foxapella,” the Fox Lane a cappella group, started the celebration by singing “Love On Top” by Beyoncé. The crowd then gathered in a hall near the art classrooms, where Amy Salerno, the art teacher running the mural project, made remarks and unveiled the mural with the help of art students and other teachers. The art exhibit opening and the NAHS induction followed the mural unveiling.
Ms. Kranz explained that the spring art exhibit “is somewhat different than in the past as this year we are focusing on our young artists in Studio Art and Studio in Crafts.” She noted that the advanced art students held their own art shows earlier this year. As seen in the spring art show, the work by the younger art students features a greater variety as they are exploring new mediums and developing skills to find their preferred aesthetic, she noted.
Ms. Salerno, who created Fox Lane’s first heART project, said that it is designed “to bring beautiful and inspiring experiences and mosaic murals to the Bedford School District community.” As part of the preparation for the mural, Ms. Salerno and Lauren LaMance, another art teacher, held workshops in February on mirror cutting, tile breaking and textured clay hearts.
Emily Zullo, a Fox Lane art student, said that the collaboration required to complete the project made a deep impression on her. She said she enjoyed “seeing everybody from students to staff coming together to make this mural” and would like to see more collaboration on future mural projects.
The planning and approval of the project took place in October 2017, and the creation of the murals began in March 2018. Fundraising was also important. The Fox Lane High School Association donated a $500 grant to the project. Donations of tile and mirror materials came from parents, art teachers, students and local businesses. Collecting the funds was as much of a collaborative effort as creating the mural.
Ms. Salerno shared her journey of making the mural project a reality. Last summer, she signed up for a weekend community mural workshop at the Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, created by Isaiah Zagar. She spent a week in April studying with Mr. Zagar in his studio. “Working with him was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I was deeply inspired by his vision, his stories, his ability to dream big and work tirelessly,” she said. “Even at [age] 80 he is still up at 5 a.m., and up and down ladders all day, mixing cement, holding events and creating magic.”
Ms. Salerno needed a team to create the murals. She rallied the National Art Honors Society students and art service organization members to become ambassadors for the first mural. Although the project started with a very small group, over 200 were involved by the completion of the murals.
“This is just the beginning, so I am hoping the more people who learn about the heART Project, the more people who will want to get involved,” Ms. Salerno said.
The idea behind the mural was to bring the community together and encourage collaboration with people outside the students’ usual friend groups. “I wanted art to become more than a solitary experience, and more collaborative and community-based,” said the art teacher. Ms. Salerno also wanted to encourage students “to think outside of the box and see how you can start with just an idea, and bring something big to life that can have an impact on people who see it every day.”
Next year, Ms. Salerno is looking to branch out the project to other schools in the community. She also hopes that local businesses will donate their walls to the student artists, allowing the project to grow beyond the Bedford Central School District.
Ms. Zullo, the art student, said that Ms. Salerno is leading a new course next year, called Public Art, which will focus on creating new collaborative projects similar to the murals at other locations on the school campus. She said the course is something “she would love to be a part of.”