"A Community Of Caring"
ArtSmart Residency with Hazen-White Kindergarten Class Feb.-April 2019
In February of 2019 I began an ArtSmart Residency with a Kindergarten class at Hazen-White School in Saint John, with the collaboration of teacher Rhonda Magee. The school has a very diverse population, with many recent immigrant families and is also designated as a “priority Neighbourhood” within Saint John. Rhonda and I developed a mural project around the theme - A Community Of Caring - which would use silhouettes of the children arranged in a way to suggest relationships, community and coming together. The project wound up in mid-April after bi-weekly visits with the class over the preceding 2 months.
From 2013 to 2015 I took part in a Festival held each spring at the award winning KINGSBRAE GARDENS in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Children from all over the local school district come to the gardens and spend the day taking part in multiple mini art workshops with artists in the beautiful outdoor settings.
Whale Legacy Project 2012
Disney cruise guests are having a “Whale of a Time” this summer as they help to create a one-of-a-kind work of art. The colourful Bay of Fundy Whale Mosaic, designed by local artist Sheryl Crowley, is a gift of public art from Aquila Tours that will be displayed in Saint John’s newest cruise terminal when it opens in early September.
During the Whale of a Time Port Adventure, participants will paint their own design on a numbered ceramic tile. The tile number is recorded on a certificate for them to take home as a souvenir, and Sheryl Crowley will add the tiles to the mosaic throughout the summer. Participants can watch the progress and see where their tile is placed by clicking on the Whale Mosaic link .
The mosaic will be on display at the museum while it is being created, until it is moved to its permanent home at the new Diamond Jubilee Cruise Terminal.
The creation of the Bay of Fundy Whale Mosaic is a unique legacy project which celebrates Aquila’s 30th year in business and Disney Cruise Line’s first season in the Port of Saint John.
Boys & Girls Club "Home" 2012
This was a segment of a larger project that happened in the spring of 2012 across several community organizations and involving some of the children they serve. The project was to bring awareness of the varying concepts of "HOME" and to highlight the plans for a new teen homeless shelter to be built in Saint John, NB .
St. Malachy's Project 2012
This project was done with the invitation and collaboration of Melinda Sheehan, art teacher at St. Malachy High and with the blessings of Yvon Gallant who kindly gave use permission to use his painting "homme avec homard" as the basis of our mosaic. See a VIDEO of the process here. We received a grant through the Government of New Brunswick to introduce an aspect of Acadian culture to anglophone students.
M. Gallant is an Acadian painter living in Moncton whose works have been shown around the world and whose brilliant plains of colour made his works perfect for mosaic interpretation.
I worked with grade 12 art students some of whom were in an Advance Placement art program working at a university level in visual arts. I taught them how to use the tools and materials of mosaic making. We used nippers as well as learning to safely mixing and apply mortar and grout. Over 2 1/2 weeks the students went from a line drawing on the mdf board to grouting finally.
Mur des bénévoles 2011
The "Mural of Volunteers" is designed to celebrate and highlight the individuals in the local francophone community who have given to their community as volunteers over the years of the centre. I was commissioned to create two 4x4ft. mosaic oak trees for this. The leaves of the tree will contain the names of the volunteers.
Une communauté forte et vibrante se développe grâce à l'implication de personnes ayant le désire commun de la voir s'épanouir.
En reconnaissance de ces personnes, l'ARCf de Saint-Jean prépare un mur des bénévoles intégrant une œuvre de l'artiste Sheryl Crowley.
Snail Mural 2011
Once there was a very long, blank and cold and plain concrete Wall. It was one side of a long and blank and cold, and plain concrete Hallway. Every day the children had to walk down this hallway in order to arrive at the Dining Room where they were given scrumptious food to eat and they laughed and sang.
The wall felt left out of this feasting. No matter how long it was, it could never actually get into the place where the food was served and the children ate and chattered together. The Hall ended where the Dining Room began, you see, and this made the Wall very lonely.
Sometimes when the children arrived to eat they would find water on the floor where the Hall ended and the Dining Room began. “The Wall has been crying”, one of the children said, ”How sad!”
Avril came to hear about the weeping Wall and said to the children, “We must do something to bring some happiness to the Wall. It needs some cheering up and some time spent with it.”
“It needs some friends to keep it company”, someone else said. “Maybe we could get it a dog?”
Well……OK…..it didn’t come about exactly that way, but I had fun imagining the weeping wall!
The idea of doing this mural came from… yes, having a bare, boring wall but also from imagining a project that would involve many of the children in the painting of it and would leave a beautiful piece of art behind for all children to enjoy for a long time in the future.
Children often find snails to be fascinating and they had talked about snails in many of their classes and had found snails out in the gardens of the school. I am fascinated by snails too and love the swirls of their shells.
To make the mural I made a series of stencils out of heavy paper. The children worked with trays of acrylic paint. Blobs of several colours in each tray. They pressed the paints onto the wall where it showed within the stencil shapes using brushes, bits of sponge and metal pot scrubbers even! They learned the difference between pressing and brushing. They experimented with how the blobs of colour mixed and streaked as they pushed their sponges onto the stencils. When we would pull of the sections of stencil it was so exciting to see what they had created. It was a great surprise that all this dabbing with pot scrubbers helped to create a snail, or a tuft of grass.
The project took several weeks to paint as we did layers of patterns and had to wait for each layer to dry before adding another. Children worked in pairs on sections, helping each other out and melding their work together. The painters came from the older classrooms and each lunch time the younger ones were excited to see what had been added to on the wall. Children who had painted pointed out their sections to other kids. The children were very concentrated while they were painting and took great care and pride in what they were doing. I am sure that the Wall is now much happier!
P.S. My son Benjamin was my great assistant in much of this and took most of the photos. Thank you Benjamin!
Mental Health Tiles Project 2011
In the Spring of 2011 I took part in a project involving over 200 students in grades 5-10 at a local school. The goal of the project was to bring the subject of mental health into discussion among the students focusing on their individual experiences; what they regarded as influencing their positive mental health.
The classes had sessions with teachers in which they discussed the topic and began working on images to symbolize what positive mental health meant to them. I then worked with them for 2 sessions each, working on developing the designs and painting the images onto 6" square tiles with acrylic paint. The tiles are to be mounted as a mass permanent installation within the halls of the school.
Collage Silhouettes 2011
This collage was made of papers painted and printed by the children of the preschool ages 2-5.
This was a project that had many stages and involved over 40 children between the ages of 2-5. We began by having several children lie down on paper and having their outlines drawn. They said it tickled!
I then chose 3 outlines that I thought were varied and interesting. The classes then spent several sessions working with paint in various ways. It is hard for children to really completely cover a sheet of paper with colour. We used brushes, potato printing and symmetrical folding of painted sheets to create reams of interesting colours and forms. Children mixed colours and worked around and over each other’s paintings to layer images. Then the dried sheets were ripped into mostly hand size fragments to prepare for collaging. The collage stage was done by groups of children working on sections, each group continuing the work of the last. When completed, the figures were trimmed to the silhouette edges and mounted on plywood. The sided were painted and a skipping rope, balls, a hoola-hoop and blocks were added to link the figures together. Whew! It took several months to get the pieces finished but they were really fun to do.
SJ Early Childhood Logo 2010
Working with approximately 40 children spanning the ages from 3 to 5 we created a quasi mosaic-collage of the school's logo. I chose to work with cardboard recycled from cereal boxes, kleenex boxes and such that had a glossy finish. Children, parents and teachers in the school collected boxes and boxes for me and there were several cutting events that I persuaded school children and my own children to take part in. We ended up with sorted piles of shiny colours with bits of images or text on them for the children to collage with.
The logo was broken down into it's component shapes and groups of children would work on gluing cardboard "tiles" onto individual shapes such as a house or a water piece. They finished sections were trimmed and re-assembled onto black paper to imitate black grout of a mosaic. Finally it was mounted on plywood and now greets visitors and children in the main stairwell of the school.
I instructed and assisted them in the use of mosaic tools, how to design, cut and lay tiles through to the messy mortaring and grouting process. The children used a combination of glass and ceramic materials. The project was a year in the making and resulted in 3- 4x6ft. murals which have been hung in the school entrance.