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Sunrise Elementary creates an artistic legacy

Here are some of the Sunrise Elementary students with their art piece. First row, left to right: Erin Christian, Marissa Takata, James Jessen and Kennedy Tuinstra. Second row, left to right: Sam Roberts, Ben Gamble, Kris Bien, Bilal Ghouse and Olivia Wisont. - Courtesy photo
Here are some of the Sunrise Elementary students with their art piece. First row, left to right: Erin Christian, Marissa Takata, James Jessen and Kennedy Tuinstra. Second row, left to right: Sam Roberts, Ben Gamble, Kris Bien, Bilal Ghouse and Olivia Wisont.
— image credit: Courtesy photo

Submitted by Sunrise Elementary

For the first time, the Redmond Sunrise Elementary sixth-grade class partnered with big, local businesses to create a unique artistic legacy for their English Hill community.

Since the beginning of April, the class (which consisted of 59 students) dedicated their talent and energy to leaving a piece of themselves behind before moving on to junior high in the fall. Their Legacy Project consists of 48 concrete, 12-by-12-inch stepping stones, 100 pounds of glass and a lot of glue to hold together a 12-by-4-foot mosaic.

“Be yourself. Everyone else is taken,” a quote by Oscar Wilde, is the inspiration for the mosaic. The design evolved into a detailed, rainbow-colored snowflake as its central motif (4-by-4 feet) and smaller individual snowflakes flank the main design. The snowflakes represent individuality as a person and together as a group.

The piece was set into the ground, in concrete, permanently by volunteer parents on June 13.

This project’s significance goes beyond creating art.

Firstly, there was no budget to pay for the extravagant art project, so fundraising was key to financing the art piece.   Redmond Home Depot (led by assistant manager Andrew Krona) donated crucial materials to the student-led project. Students even got to take a shopping trip to Home Depot, which required some math skills: calculating measurements of site (perimeter and area), comparing costs, converting feet into inches and determining the number of stepping stones needed to fill the site. Woodinville’s Spectrum Glass also kindly donated 100 pounds of multi-colored glass pieces to Sunrise students at their manufacturing plant. The glass manufacturer makes and ships high-quality glass all over the world and houses more than a million pounds of glass pieces by color outside in giant bags. In total, the project cost was near $1,000.

Secondly, students are running things. Fifty-nine 12-year-olds came together with teachers, Maureen Juenger and Scott Miller, to plan, choose a theme and a design, sort glass by color, glue glass to stepping stones, mix and apply mortar to envelop glass and made something over the top. Principal Doug Hale fully supported the project from its inception. Students were able to get their hands dirty, make prototypes and discover things as they went. Making the art required many 21st-century Skills like problem solving, communication, creativity, collaboration, initiative, leadership and responsibility. Many gave up coveted weekend time and endured sore muscles from digging out the grass from the site where the mosaic sits. Art is hard work.

Thirdly, most students had never had the chance to work with the materials, such as mortar, adhesive and glass before this opportunity came along. They were all required to wear safety equipment like safety goggles, heavy rubber gloves and masks. They applied tile adhesive with Popsicle sticks.

Lastly, the significance of the project as a whole is that for some students this was their last school art project. Once they reach seventh grade, art becomes an elective. The hope is they will leave a permanent mosaic behind, but not art as part of their lives.

 

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