Life Goes On…. the Mural Wall
by Cate Murway

Several current and former students of the Warren Snyder – John Girotti Elementary/ Middle School are the budding artists working on transforming an empty wall space on the second floor of the school near a stairwell into a showcase of attractive stuff, made of history and dreams. They are creating something hand painted that defines Snyder-Girotti and that will be permanently remembered.

Murals are more than just giant paintings. They not only beautify buildings but also inspire community pride among the students, turning their colorful, energetic ideas into reality. Some of that pride comes from the actual process of creating the mural, giving the students a voice and a platform to express themselves, enabling them to procure skills and confidence to take on future community projects. 
Murals are layered with meaning, could be literal, some symbolic, or some abstract. The finished products speak to wide audiences, unveiling their messages over time. The students’ works will brighten up the school and inspire learning and enhance inventive development.  A mural can also promote creative thinking. 

The budding artists learn a great deal about working as a team, encouraging each other and enhancing their communication and social skills.
Art creates a nurturing environment and an inviting atmosphere.

Title 1 federal program coordinator, Mary Gesualdi, promotes progress with a passion! She and Rose Marie Strippoli, the Event Coordinator and Past President of the Artists of Bristol on the Delaware, are determined to promote the legacy of arts and culture in the local school as well as the community.
Rose asked the students last May who would be interested in being part of this 21st Century Class and requested suggestions for the mural pictures.

Funded through grants made available through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) were created to provide enrichment programs and activities for youth in an effort to increase the chance of academic success in core academic subjects such as reading, math and science.  Academic support and a wide range of enrichment and cultural programs are offered during out of school hours in a safe, nurturing environment. 

The preliminary sketches for the mural are coming alive with pencil, but the artists will soon be using paint to add the pops of color. Rose has asked other AOB members to assist when the actual mural painting begins. 
“I love art. The idea is to make it a better place to be, something to generate memories and some thoughts.” Art always deserves a larger, appreciative audience.

There were three students working diligently at one of the sessions last week.

The 9th graders plan on leaving a legacy. 
Daniel Timothy DeLuca “likes to draw” and uses pictures for a reference for his creations.  Ashley Nicole Perez loves to sketch and take photographs of nature.  “I want to leave my trademark. I was here my whole life and I want to leave my story.”

The middle school had no mural and no art classes. “There are mosaics downstairs for the elementary kids.” 7th grader, Emily Elizabeth Marchese is busy sketching part of the school.  Emily also adds voice to her many talents. She portrayed the lead role, the title character of Ariel in the school play, “The Little Mermaid”. She will have an additional opportunity to sing for Historic Bristol Day at the Gazebo on October 18, 2014. 
Words from her favorite “Mermaid” song, “Part of Your World” fit her current activity perfectly. 
“Look at this stuff, isn't it neat?  Wouldn't you think my collections complete?”

There are several 8th graders also involved in this venture.
The pictorial story will represent both the old school and the new school and many of the activities in which the students took part.
Each artist will dip a brush into his/her own soul and add personal experiences into the graphics.
Life goes on….the mural wall.

“But who cares? No big deal, I want more…”

The recent beautification extended outside the school building as well. The Bristol Memorial Fountain in the multi-sided brick wall structure, created by founder and designer, Angelo F. Licciardello on July 12, 1987, represents the convergence and blending of various ethnic groups in the Borough. It is a permanent tribute to “our forefathers whose creative minds, working hands and energetic spirits built this community”.

Mark Gesualdi dedicated himself to getting the flowers blooming and the fountain working, along with Fred Cullen (Bristol Borough School District) and George Waldron (Bristol Borough Public Works).The crystalline turquoise tint to the water has been provided by Lochel's Bakery.
This site has been added to the revised Historic Bristol Borough walking tour sponsored by Bristol Cultural & Historical Foundation [BCHF] and the Raising the Bar [RTB] organizations.

“Look at this trove, treasures untold…
 How many wonders can one cavern hold?”

Snyder-Girotti Elementary/Middle School
Principal Kelli Brandt Rosado 
450 Beaver Street
Bristol, PA 19007

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from left:  Ashley, Daniel, Emily
from left: Rose Marie Strippoli Ashley, Dan, Emily
Ashley's artwork from personal collection
Emily's artwork from personal collection