Fairview High School students brighten up community with new artwork
September 6, 2022
Some Fairview High School students are taking an opportunity to make their community just a little bit brighter.
Thanks to a partnership with the city of Fairview Park, art students in Ryan Graff and Chris Kaminski’s classrooms recently designed and painted two crossing guard booths on display in the city. One of the newly painted booths is on Lorain Road, near W. 214th St. near Fairview High School. The other is on West 220th street, near Gilles-Sweet Elementary.
“Councilwoman Bridget King contacted me a couple of years ago about bringing public art into the community and involving our students from the school to do that,” Graff explained.
The first project Fairview High School students completed was the designing and painting of colorful murals at Bohlken Park, specifically around some permanent bike racks. In January 2022, King and Mayor Patrick Cooney returned to meet with Graff about additional school/community public art projects.
“One of the things the mayor was proposing was if we could do something with these school crossing guard booths, to jazz them up and revitalize them,” Graff added.
Shortly after that meeting, students began developing and designing the booths' artwork. Then, approximately 20 students attended a city council meeting in May to show elected officials their designs.
“Take the artwork away, take the project away; the students having to present in front of the city council can be very intimidating," Kaminski said. “We had to go through a lot of hoops, and they talked about that in front of these kids. I think them seeing the experience and the behind-the-scenes of what it takes to make a project work is important.”
One week before students let out in June, the booths were dropped off to Fairview High School and students began their work. Over the summer, some students came in to continue painting. The final touches were applied in mid-August, once students returned to school.
“Brightening up the community is what I really loved about this project,” Scarlett Loach, a junior art student at Fairview High School explained. “We were able to use the whole rainbow. We were worried that the designs might be a distraction on the road, but the city gave us creative freedom. And that’s the best, because we could do what we wanted to do and bring these designs to life.”
Students will finish painting the remaining three booths in the city this school year with designs that compliment that part of the city. The paint was supplied by Daniel Smith, from Citywide Painting LLC.
“We’re hoping that the turnaround process from start to finish is less than two weeks,” Graff explained. “We can clean and prime them within three days. Then we have a week or so to paint and seal them.”
“This is a project I am so proud to be a part of,” King expressed. “I am familiar with the incredible art program at the high school through my daughters, 2018 and 2020 graduates, and a current junior, and I wanted to find a way to share the student’s talents with the community. I am thankful that Mayor Cooney and the administration backed this idea.”
For Loach, this project mirrors some of her art, for which she started her own business. Although art has been her passion for some time, the COVID-19 quarantine helped focus her artwork on images of positivity and mental health awareness, using bright colors and imagery.
“It’s exciting,” Loach expressed. “It’s exciting to see what this project brings for the future, with my own business or projects the city wants us to do. Because we’d love to paint this whole town - well, I’d love to. I’m really excited to see what’s next with this project and to see it all come to light. I’ve been here since the beginning, and I’d like to be here at the end.”