Laning Avenue School‘s fourth grade class is leaving more than memories behind at their elementary school as they graduate this June. They will also be leaving a colorful mural commissioned by renowned New Jersey artist Dan Fenelon to enliven the halls and serve as the Class of 2010 Legacy Gift.
Fenelon began installation of the mural on Monday, June 7 after several meetings to discuss ideas central to Laning Avenue School. Two of these themes that are incorporated in the work are Environmentalism and Science/Astronomy. In 2006, Laning received the “Green Flag” designation as a school that meets certain environmental safety standards and practices, with an eye to educating the students about environmental stewardship. Laning also enjoys its yearly participation in Starlab, a portable planetarium that comes to the school and allows for the intensive study of astronomy.
Fenelon is best known locally for a 32 by 12 foot mural currently on exhibit at the Montclair Art Museum that will run until the fall of 2010. You may also recognize his work from the Montclair Public Library, where his mural covers 45 feet of stairwell heading up to the Children’s Floor. In his artist’s statement, Fenelon describes his work as “a blend of cartooning, street modernism and ancient tribal motifs along with an explosion of vibrant colors”.
The Laning fourth graders enjoyed a presentation from Fenelon on his first day at the school, where he discussed his process and took questions from the children. They interacted with him daily as the mural progressed and learned intimately about the creative process from inception to completion. This is clearly a Legacy Gift that gave as much back to the graduating students as it will to the Laning community for years to come.