Nearly 150 students, staff and community members celebrated the unveiling of a new mixed-media indoor mural as well as a “living painting” outdoor garden at Stephen Decatur Elementary School on May 24 as the culmination of a school climate improvement project funded by a $5,000 Picasso Project grant from Public Citizens for Children and Youth.
Decatur art teacher Megan Giampietro directed a team of 80 middle school students in creating the mural, which is based on the theme “Indigenous Life and Waterways of Northeast Philadelphia” and depicts wildlife in the Poquessing and Pennypack watersheds.
The mural was dedicated in memory of E. Maxwell Rowland, former president of the Trustees of Lower Dublin Academy and Giampietro’s father. The Lower Dublin trustees were a partner in the project as was Mastbaum Vo-Tech School carpentry teacher Steve Wasielewski.
For the garden portion of the project, Decatur library and horticulture teacher Adrienne Wasielewski led a team of students who did the schoolyard plantings.
As a result of the mural and garden project, the School District of Philadelphia recognized Decatur with its Outstanding Strides in School Climate award.
Members of the Decatur choir, band and orchestra capped off the festivities with performances in the school’s Spring Fling.
“Tonight is truly a celebration of the arts at Decatur,” Principal Genevieve Endy-O’Kane said. ••