The culture and spirit of Peakview Elementary has been captured in a colorful 16-foot mural that will soon hang in the school cafeteria. The vibrant work of art was created by the school’s third-, fourth- and fifth-graders under the guidance of renowned Colorado artist Tony Ortega during a week-long Artist in Residence program. Ortega calls the collaborative piece a community mural.
"It represents the community of Peakview and some of the activities and things they do year after year,” said Ortega, who is known for his paintings, prints, sculptures and photos that promote a better understanding of cultural diversity.
“It’s like a portrait of our school,” added third-grade student Kylie Bradford, who explained that the mural depicts the people and traditions of Peakview.
Those traditions including weather balloon launches, tinikling, which is a traditional Philippine folk dance using bamboo poles and activities like Girls on the Run running club, said fellow third-grader Logan Quintana.
Bradford and Quintana, along with every other third-, fourth- and fifth-grade student at Peakview, got to work on the mural during the week of Feb. 5th as part of an Artist in Residence program. The program was funded by the school’s PTCO and Think 360 Arts, an organization that supports opportunities for students to engage in the arts and promotes collaboration among artists, educators and communities.
Peakview art teacher Darci Liley said those groups helped her realize a goal she has had for 15 years.
“I’m blessed to be at a school that really honors and values the arts and sees it as a valuable part of every child’s education,” Liley said. “By bringing in an artist in residence, we’re able to give these kids an amazing opportunity to work one-on-one with a professional artist who is local to our area.”
Students had the opportunity to work Ortega in small groups and learn different painting techniques, including hard-edge painting, dry-brush painting and pointillism.
“They come in here very interested, engaged and focused,” Ortega said. “I think they come away with a sense of ownership.”
“It makes me happy, because I know I helped make that painting,” Quintana said.
That feeling of ownership, accomplishment and being part of something bigger than themselves was another of Liley’s goals for the project.
“My hope is that when the kids look at the mural, it gives them a sense of pride and sense of being in this community of Peakview,” Liley said. “It’s five short days but a lifetime of memories for these kids.”