How do you celebrate the past and inspire the future? If you’re Middle School Visual Arts Faculty Member Sean Hildreth, you turn to a blank wall.
Mr. Hildreth and Megan Skelly, members of the 50th Anniversary committee, chose to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of girls and women at Hun with an impactful art project. “We wanted something that would encourage students to learn more about alumnae,” shares Mr. Hildreth.
The result is a three-part project weaving together past and present in a particularly meaningful way:
A Thriving Garden Mural in the Middle School
The background pattern of vines and leaves was designed by alumna artist, Jane Moore Houghton ’83, who brought Mr. Hildreth’s idea of a “garden that grows” alive. The next step in the collaboration included sharing the pattern with Ms. Skelly’s seventh-grade math class, who took the pattern and scaled it for the wall.
Once the background was painted on the wall of the Middle School hallway by Mr. Hildreth’s art classes during the first week of November, Ms. Houghton visited to add a few finishing touches and share her story with the class. An artist and designer, who among other projects creates patterns for fabrics and illustrates children’s books, she shared what it is like to be a working artist with Mr. Hildreth’s class. “Creativity is valuable in any job,” she said. “When you’re making a piece of art and you don’t like where it’s headed and you think, ‘how can I pivot and make this better?’—you can use that in any job.”
Two Life-Size, Three-Dimensional Butterflies
Director of Technical Theatre Josh Robinson is responsible for the Janus Players’ stage sets but he’ll be using his carpentry skills to craft two life-size butterflies that will rest against the mural. The wings will display a collection of imagery from alumnae who have made their mark on the world. “The butterfly symbolizes transformation and growth, yet always remembers where they started,” he shares. “The idea is to have students see themselves in these alumnae and imagine their futures,” he adds. “We want students to pose in front of them and feel empowered.”
A Kaleidoscope of Butterflies
Beginning this year as part of Middle School Graduation, one female student will receive an award recognizing outstanding leadership and dedication to gender education and equality. As part of the award, the winner will create a butterfly of her own design to be painted on the walls next to the mural. “My hope is that fifty years down the line when the wall is covered with butterflies representing all of the award winners, students will continue to find inspiration and encouragement to succeed.”
Read more about how The Hun School is celebrating Her at Hun: 50 Years of Girls and Women.