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Trash Mural

Ideated, scoped and delivered this all-school collaborative art project to school and district officials as the culminating piece for the 6 years I volunteer taught K-8 art at Bayview Elementary.  Secured funding from Waste Management and worked will all the classrooms and administrators to deliver this 6’x12′ mural.  Students collected all the trash they used at school in their back packs for a week and collected it in their classrooms.  The act of being responsible for their trash was worth the effort.  It was transformative for many students who were shocked at the amount of trash they created. 461 students, teachers and admins designed their squares that were put together into the final product.  It was such a joy and honor to bring this to the halls of Bayview together.

Article excerpts:

BAY VIEW — When their teachers asked them to bring certain items to class, some of the students at Bay View Elementary School might have thought it was an odd request.

“Our teachers told us to bring in a bunch of garbage,” said school co-president Bowen King, 13. Bay View students brought in the trash, which was stored up for a schoolwide art project.

“The recycling component’s the cool part,” said Christine Royers, a volunteer art teacher in the school. “It’s a lot of different plastics from different sources.”

With the scraps and trash they had collected, each student got to make their own piece of art, which Royers then collected to form a much bigger piece, a mural that now hangs in the hall next to the school’s library.

Everyone — students, teachers, staff, janitors and even the principal — contributed and made a square for the mural, 641 in all.  “It’s been cool to see the school join together,” Bowen said. “Here we have this project that we all worked on, and it helps make the world better.”

While they were working on their squares, the students learned about garbage and its effect on the community and how to recycle. Teachers showed students what a seemingly trivial plastic beverage container can have on wildlife.  “It was a real eye-opener for a lot of us,” Bowen said. Fourth-grader Dillon Ballenger, who made an eagle on his square, said he learned that what is normally seen as garbage, sometimes isn’t.


Bayview School, Burlington, WA