Students work on the Bryant mural earlier this month.
When Rachel Kreiger Albert first told her art students at Bryant Alternative High School about her idea to create a mural on a large wall outside the school, they were interested, but not especially enthusiastic.
But as the project began to take shape through the winter and spring, excitement grew, Albert says.
Now, as the mosaic mural literally comes together, it has become a source of pride for students and faculty. Students use their free time to work on it, and teachers and administrators tout the project’s progress on social media.
“The students are really into it,” Albert said, noting that students try to finish their work early in other classes so they can work on the mural. “They’re working non-stop.”
If all goes well, the mosaic mural will be up on the 35-foot by 13-foot retaining wall in front of Bryant by graduation on June 15. The school is holding a “Community Mosaic Day” this Saturday that will allow community members, families of students and anyone else interested in the project to come participate and see its progress. All ages are welcome at the event, which will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Ali Mirsky, a professional mosaic artist, comes by the school a couple times a week to instruct students in the finer points of creating the mosaic, which is being constructed with stained glass on top of backer board. It will have more durability than a traditional painted mural, which can chip and peel over time. Once it’s complete, Mirsky will install it on the wall.
“She’s amazing, she’s got a lot of energy,” said Albert.
The wall as it looks now.
Albert began a GoFundMe page to raise funds for the mural in the fall. It took a little while to get going, but little by little money began coming in, and last week donations topped the $7,000 mark.
Local businesses have chipped in to support the project too. The Lowe’s Home Improvement at the Beacon Center, the Hybla Valley Home Depot — as well as other Home Depots in the area — have all donated supplies for the project. Artists at the Torpedo Factor in Alexandria have also donated materials.
The last push of donations will be for the scaffolding needed to attach the mosaic to the wall, Albert said.
Donors who contributed $100 or more get their name personalized on a tile. Initially the deadline for a personalized tile was April 30, but Albert has extended the date because she hopes to continue the project through the next school year so that the mosaic wraps around the side of the wall.
“We would love to do the whole [wall],” Albert said. “If donations continue to come in, we’ll put their names on it.”