Student-Artists Beautify Buildings

Student-Artists Beautify Buildings

Young artists are adding their creative touch to Wantagh’s schools with the addition of new several new murals. Wantagh Elementary School and Wantagh Middle School are both being beautified with student masterpieces.   

At Wantagh Elementary School, it is an annual tradition for the graduating fifth grade class to paint a mural. This year’s creation is in a first floor hallway, near the art room, with a unity theme. It includes a depiction of the school, a rainbow, symbols that represent the unique talents of students, and the slogan “We Are Wantagh.”

Art teacher Stephanie Kornacki said that students came down in small groups and worked in 20-minute shifts, so every fifth grader was able to paint a piece of the mural. She said the design was based upon their ideas. 

“They’re super excited about being able to leave their mark,” she said. “It’s a good way for them to be part of a truly collaborative experience.”

Wantagh Middle School’s National Junior Art Honor Society, under the direction of Joanna Osman, has been adding several murals throughout the building over the last two years. Most recently, students painted book covers for “The Chronicles of Narnia” and “The Outsiders,” which compliments the “Harry Potter” mural from last year.

Earlier this year, students painted an acceptance mural on No Place for Hate Day. An upcoming project is a Wantagh spirit mural, featuring several familiar images including the Historical Society’s train car, the Jones Beach tower and academic and athletic symbols. It will also include a tribute to James Lodato. 

Eighth grader Emily Carr has been working on the final design on her iPad, taking an initial sketch, making some adjustments, and adding color. When it is complete, the design will be projected onto the wall and traced. Students will then fill it in with color. 

“I find it really fun and exciting and a good way to make the school look really nice,” Emily said. “A lot of future generations are going to be able to see it.”

Ms. Osman said her honor society members enjoy painting the murals and contributing positively to their school. She noted that is has been a confidence boost for several of her young artists as they see their ideas come to fruition and hard work pay off. 

Principal Anthony Ciuffo said that he wants each mural to reflect one of three messages – literature, school spirit and character education. 

“I want someone to walk around this building and get a feel for what our school is about and these murals help out,” he said. “Students are leaving their mark and a legacy for themselves while also beautifying the school.”