Claiming and creating: Bate students, artist paint mural commemorating legacy
The Kentucky Arts Council awarded John W. Bate Middle School a Teaching Artist Together grant for a two-week artist residency titled “John W. Bate Middle School: Claiming our Identity.” Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students are creating a mural celebrating the past, present and future of their school.
Together with visual art teacher Vickie Hunt and KAC roster artist Alfredo Escobar, students are engaging with the four artistic processes of creating, presenting, responding and connecting. They have conducted research about the history and legacy of John W. Bate Middle School.
They have been exploring their own connections as current students and imagine their future and the future generations who will continue the legacy of the founder and namesake of the school, John W. Bate. Students spent the first day learning more about murals and the background of the artist, they have primed the mural panels and are already designing and painting the panels.
In addition to the grant from the Kentucky Arts Council, this artist-in-residency project is supported with funding from the John W. Bate Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization, John W. Bate Middle School and the Danville Schools.
Hunt said there are certain features in the mural that depict something important in the life of Professor Bate. For example, a large, red “3” signifies his three siblings who died; and a sign for Berea College is because Professor Bate was one of the first African-Americans who graduated from that school; and a long broken chain in the shape of a “9” signifies his nine years as a slave.
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