Photo by Justin Criado

John Morrow Elementary school students stop to read some of the third-graders reflections about the mosaic project during the Community Art Night at the Brighton Heights’ school May 22.

By Justin Criado

Art is universal because anyone can create it.

That’s what parents and community members got to see May 22 at Community Art Night at John Morrow Elementary school in Brighton Heights.

“This is a wonderful occasion,” Principal Alivia Clark said. “There’s nothing more important than knowing who is educating your children.”

The idea originated when neighborhood mother Kate Kelly decided she wanted to become more involved with the school and showcase its staff and facilities to the community.

After securing a grant through the Buhl Foundation’s One Northside initiative, the open art event became a reality.

“I decided to quit talking about it and come in and volunteer.

Six months later I’m still here. I’m amazed at what a cool school this is,” Kelly said. “…I just wanted to find an event to mesh the two. Have people come in here and see what it’s all about.”

At the beginning of the night art teacher Rachel Montoya unveiled a new mosaic mural in the school’s auditorium, which was designed and constructed primarily by the third-grade class, but was worked on by all the other grades as well. Artist Laura Jean McLaughlin, who specializes in mosaics, guided the students throughout at the whole process as well.

She also thanked the efforts of her fellow staff and volunteer efforts of parents and community members.

“I’m really proud of the students,” Montoya said. “They all made this mural possible and it will be permanently placed in the school.”

She also thanked the efforts of her fellow staff as well as parent and community member volunteers.

“This staff here is like a family,” Montoya said. “I never experienced such a tight and supportive staff.”

The mural was dedicated to Clark, who will be retiring at the end of the year after eight years at the school.

Kelly plans on holding another community event in the fall at the school’s middle school building across the street. She said there’s plan to install a KaBoom! playground, plant up to 40 trees and create an edible garden.

Oliver Citywide Academy will be hosting the first annual art exhibition Friday, May 29 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

DSC_9877Photo by Justin Criado

The mosaic mural that was unveiled during the Community Art Night at John Morrow Elementary school in Brighton Heights May 22.