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Greenburgh Art Students Create "Magical Garden"

GREENBURGH, N.Y. – A group of Greenburgh students have transformed their cafetorium from a row of wood panel walls into a learning masterpiece.

With the help of artist Candace Winter, first-graders at Lee F. Jackson Elementary School have covered 270 feet of their cafeteria/auditorium with flowers, animals and insects, turning a pair of walls into a colorful display of garden life.

“This blah, boring cafetorium has transformed into this beautiful living garden,” said school Principal Patricia Simone, who helped organize the project with Greenburgh Central 7 Arts Director Miriam Bernabei.

Winter began working with the students last month, sketching the garden on the room’s white walls. She also helped to direct the children as they created the colorful scenery in art class.

Inspired by the work of another artist, Eric Carle, the children carefully cut their patterns of flowers, leaves, ladybugs and animals.

After painting and texturizing the pieces themselves, Winter pasted the pieces on two large walls, transforming the room into what Simone called an inspiring magical garden.

“It’s unbelievable,” Simone said. “They couldn’t have done a better job.”

Now in her third year in the building, Simone said every year she has had the students take on an art legacy project, something that will be permanently installed around the building.

But it wasn’t just an art project, Simone said. The work tied in with the school’s International Baccalaureate unit entitled, “It Lives!”

Throughout the year, children had learned about the properties of living things as well as the environments for plants and animals in their reading and science units. That learning continued with the cafetorium garden collage, Simone said.

And with the piece completed last week, children recently got a chance to show off their handiwork to parents for the first time.

“The students feel so proud when they can identify their work and the parents are awed by it,” she said. “They couldn’t believe student actually created this.”

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