Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:46 PM on Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vision becomes reality

This years artist-in-the-school project at Paul Banks Elementary was a testament to the possibilities and strengths of an interconnected community. Ruby Haigh, a local artist, teacher and grandmother in our community has been a respected volunteer at Paul Banks for some time. From the moment she considered being our resident artist, she began brainstorming an idea for a tile mosaic that could be a permanent, beautiful addition to our school.

The vision was a mosaic created entirely by the children; something that spoke to the history and philosophy of Paul Banks Elementary, and that would not only be a thing of beauty and pride for the students, but also a lasting statement to the students and the community about our key school values of kindness, hard work, creating art, music, and academic rigor. While we knew from the outset that we were undertaking a once in a lifetime sized goal, the full magnitude of the work this idea would entail only became apparent as the project unfolded.

The project would have been difficult to achieve without the generous funding of the Artist in the Schools program. We thank the Rasmuson Foundation, Bunnell Street Arts Center, and the Alaska State Council on the Arts for their ongoing support of the AIS program in our area. The benefits to our students from this program are tremendous. Thank you also to Chad Dalke of Stone Works Tiling, who donated four long days over spring break and did a beautiful job on the installation of the mural. Surely the project would not have been the same without Grandma Gaye Wolfe, who spent many days helping Ruby and the children.

Ruby Haigh, if we could add up all the extra hours I know you put into the project, we would all be blown away. You remained cheerful, enthusiastic, and optimistic even as the inevitable challenges arose in a project so large. Thank you.

Everyone, please join us for our second annual First Friday Art Show on April 6 and see the unveiling of the mural at 5:30 p.m., with all the art on display throughout the school from 5-7 p.m. I know you will be as impressed with our young artists as we ar.

Jennifer Reinhart

On behalf of the staff and students at Paul Banks Elementary