Community Art Project Completed at Kualapu’u School

Mosaic wall is the newest addition to school’s art installations.

From left to right, Kualapu’u School art teacher Koki Foster and students Nainoa Kahale, 3rd grade, Kaimana Kahale, 4th grade, and Tabby Fernandez, 3rd grade, admire their newest art project.

By Catherine Cluett

Art flourishes at Kualapu’u School as children proudly show off their newest project, a mosaic wall completed earlier last week. Students, parents, teachers, and staff at the school collaborated to create the project.

“One thing I love about the installation is watching the children interact with the mural — by touching the tiles and discussing with each other their favorite pieces,” says Kualapu`u art resource person Koki Foster.

Besides acting as resource, Foster is also the inspiration for the project. Begun about a year ago, she says the mural was created partially in the classrooms, and partially during “Family Art Nights,” where parents and keiki had the opportunity to engage in the creative process together.

The permanent installation consists of about 250 ceramic pieces, individually created and glazed, and joined together on the wall by grout. The wall doubles as the back of a bench, creating a piece of both beauty and utility for all to enjoy.

Ninety tiles were made by teachers and staff at Kualapu'u, and `ohana and students made 160 tiles. The theme of the mural was left open, and artists were given the freedom to create whatever they wanted with the materials. The result is a colorful medley of themes and images, drawn both from reality and the imaginations of its creators.

The mural is one of several permanent, large-scale projects around Kualapu’u. The most recent work in progress is a painted mural entitled “Birds of the Forest,” which involves for the keiki both research of bird species and their artistic portrayal on a building wall.

Generous Benefactors
The project was made possible by a donation of $1,500 by Randy Antonio. The money was used to purchase clay and glaze for the tiles. In addition, each teacher received $150 of clay for students to use in the classroom throughout the year.

Kualapu’u School recently received a $6,000 grant from the Hawaii State Foundation of Arts and Culture for Foster’s latest collaborative community art project. Keep an eye out for “Math Discovery Islands” – benches around the school soon to be remodeled into creative unions of math, art, and utility.


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