Under a stormy sky and a week before school concluded for the 2012-13 year, art students of Skyline High School finally were able to unveil their city sponsored public art project, a Colorado themed mural covering all sides of an electrical switch box that sits next to the school. It was affectionately nicknamed “Number 14” designating which number it became among the growing Shock Art project of artfully colored boxes found around the city.
Their art project, created by Skyline art students for the Longmont Art in Public Places Commission, was a long process in the making. The AIPP commission was first contacted back in August of 2012 by Skyline art teacher Erin Huybrecht-Davis on behalf of her Skyline Visual and Performing Arts Academy students who saw the boxes that were painted around town and told the AIPP that her students would “love to paint a box.”
Groups of her art students then came up with four different designs and presented them to the AIPP in December to choose one. It was at that point, AIPP Administrator Lauren Greenfield said, “There is no way we can take on this task. There’s four amazing boxes here, let’s leave it to the school and let the students decide.”
The Colorado themed box depicting many state designated symbols and designed by Skyline seniors Corinne Mares, Bailey Batchelor, and Maddi Pietruszka was then selected by students during a day or so of school voting and also kept with one of the two project themes that the AIPP was also looking for in 2013 designs.
Greenfield talked at the unveiling of the completed project about how sometimes things between the school district and the city take a little bit longer than they should as they found when they then had to obtain an intergovernmental agreement between the city and the school district to complete the project, finally getting approval in March. Excitedly they obtained the paint, which included acrylic and house paint, and were ready to go once students returned from Spring Break.
It was then, according to Greenfield: “Winter hits. In April.” But, through bureaucracy and weather related challenges, students persevered. The winning design team then enlisted a group of fellow art students to help paint the box. Corinne and Bailey were asked how many layers of paint they applied. “A lot!” they said with laughter. Bailey was also responsible for climbing onto the top of the box to paint the Colorado symbol, which can be best viewed from the Skyline hill on the south side of the school. According to VPA student Samantha Greff, “We all sort of worked around and we had to actually repaint one entire side due to a design change.”
According to AIPP board member and Skyline HS Parent Lisa Truesdale, weather also helped created a lot of the buzz about this particular project because the longer it was covered, the more people inquired about wanting to see it.
Additionally, some in attendance suggested it would be cool to have some of the smaller electrical boxes in surrounding neighborhoods painted too. With the experience students gained with the painting process and dealing with red tape, getting HOA approval would be a fun challenge.
At the conclusion of the unveiling, AIPP Administrator Greenfield applauded the art students, stating “They show such talent and it truly amazes me to see all the talent we have in our school system, here at Skyline and in Longmont.” Contributing students received a “Certificate of Completion” for the project and then most of the upperclassmen proceeded to the National Art Honor Society banquet also being held at school.
And in a bit of irony created by another funky weather pattern that was occurring overhead, the box was again covered up for a little while longer until a protective sealant could be applied.