Little kids, big art! Ridge school makes mural

Little kids, big art! Ridge school makes mural
Photo by Georgine Benvenuto

Who says they don’t teach art in schools anymore?!

Bay Ridge artists, students, teachers, and community members painted a mural at Lutheran Elementary School on June 4. The day taught kids how to contribute to society while also imparted creativity, one contributing artist said.

“Using the murals gives them a chance to intentionally be creative,” said muralist and parent Sam Wisneski. “It empowers and enables students to strengthen their imagination and to explore that side of themselves, so ultimately they can be successful in life — no matter what it is that they pursue.”

Wisneski helped design the mural and taught children the basics of painting — skills he said many artists take for granted.

An introduction to art can be intimidating, but it gives pupils confidence and long-lasting positive experiences, another artist said.

“I feel like the greatest part of this is the kids make an impression when they put the paintbrush to the wall. It creates memories. They’ll always remember when they painted the school,” said Michael “Kaves” McLear, a Bay Ridge tattoo artist and acclaimed graffiti writer.

Kaves’s Brooklyn bona fides — which include both art and activism — showed kids that they can use creativity to better their communities, said Corinne King, the school’s director of development.

“Kaves was born and raised in Brooklyn, and his art is usually very urban. And he is kind of iconic, known for creating iconic images of Brooklyn. When the kids saw Kaves up there painting I think they were very curious and amazed at his use of spray paint, which is something they haven’t seen before,” King said.

The human-to-human contact also made the day meaningful, according to one parent whose son worked alongside older kids.

“Lutheran is really good about the older kids helping the younger kids. Malachi was painting with the sixth graders, the fifth graders. Age didn’t seem to matter in this project,” said Dawn Wisneski, mom to second-grader’s Malachi — and Sam’s wife.

The project started in November when the school asked kids what the theme “Sow the Seeds of Love” meant to them. Hundreds of answers covered all the bases — flowers, friendship, and love — but also more abstract concepts, King said.

Volunteers sifted through all the responses and came up with a design that incorporated the kids’ ideas, she said.

The day also helped a parent of two prospective Lutheran students feel more secure in her decision to move her girls to the school.

“There were all different walks of life there,” said Ava Smith. “They felt very much at home.”