By MAUREEN THOMAS
SEP 25, 2017
Artist Gayle Mangan Kassal with the mural she created with Cape St. Claire Elementary students. (courtesy of Gayle Mangan Kassal)
Nearly 600 Cape St. Claire Elementary School students helped design, brain storm and paint the new 200-plus square foot mural for their school. Art teacher Shelby Morris spearheaded the project with her vision to update the old mural, which was peeling and in disrepair. Morris attained funds through the arts council and Parents Teacher Organization then contacted local artist Gayle Mangan Kassal nine months ago. Kassal has two children at the school and it was "near and dear to her heart to make this terrific for all.”
All agreed their mural had to be about caring for the Chesapeake Bay. Their school mascot is the seagull and their motto is "soar." The students wanted to highlight their surroundings and show the creatures they want to protect, from monarchs to terrapins.
Kassal and Morris guided them a bit, even creating some "secret symbolism" such as oysters painted around an outside vent, as oysters are the "filters" of the Chesapeake. The students painted most of it then Kassal 'fine-tuned' the work over the summer.
The mural was installed and ready for the first day of school, when Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen Salmon, county schools superintendent George Arlotto, County Executive Steve Schuh and others had their photo taken in front of the mural. Kassal is ,"so proud of everyone's work and its purpose helping raising awareness for the Chesapeake. Children can make a difference … with a little help. The students owned it and it showed.”
600 students, 200 + sq.ft. mural, Acrylic on Celtec® panels 2017