Safe Harbor at Lake Hills Elementary School celebrated nine talented fourth graders on Wednesday as the students unveiled a mural they created through the after-school program, which provides educational, artistic, and other developmental opportunities to elementary, middle, and high school students within Michigan City Area Schools.
“Our goal is to provide enrichment that crosses all content areas and makes students feel excited to learn and discover and grow, but, most importantly, to feel connected to Michigan City,” said Abby May, Safe Harbor’s Development Director.
In partnership with Michigan City’s Lubeznik Center for the Arts, each of the nine Safe Harbor students involved in the project spent one day each week for six weeks last fall working with an artist on different photography projects leading up to the mural. The photographer took pictures for the kids, and the children then painted and adorned the photos with different characteristics they like about themselves. The portraits were then patched together to create one large mural.
“They were really engaged,” said Hannah Hammond-Hagman, Education Director of Lubeznik Center for the Arts. “They loved talking about the wonderful things about themselves, and we always want to applaud that in kids.”
The students included personality traits such as loving and kind, as well as activities such as sports and singing in their portraits. One student even mentioned being passionate about having a baby brother on the way.
“It was a chance for them to really think about those words and think about the things that mean the most to them and create that into a portrait piece,” Hammond-Hagman said.
Fourth grader Kendall Zakari said her favorite aspect of her portrait was the part that said she was smart.
“I like how they taught us how to express ourselves and write down our personality,” she said.
The young artists unveiled their work in front of the rest of the Safe Harbor program. They were then given framed versions of their original portraits to keep, and the mural was hung near the front of the school.
“They’ll get to see their work hanging in their school and feel that sense of school pride, which is the first step in community pride,” May said.
While fourth grader Jailyn Davis revealed that she is nervous for the rest of the school to see the mural, she had fun in the class and enjoyed seeing the finished product.
“I really like taking selfies and pictures, so I thought about it and I decided to do it,” she said. “It was fun and interesting to see what other people’s designs and thoughts were.”
The mural added a quote from the popular novel and movie A Wrinkle in Time to remind the kids of their potential and power in the world: “We can’t take any credit for our talents. It’s how we use them that matters.”
For more information about the Safe Harbor program, visit their website at https://www.mcas.k12.in.us/Domain/62. For more information about Lubeznik Center for the Arts, visit their website at www.lubeznikcenter.org.
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