PIERMONT, N.Y. -- On Dec. 23, Greenacres Elementary School in Scarsdale will celebrate its 100th birthday by unveiling a mural conceived by Betsy Franco Feeney, a Piermont commercial artist and photographer.
All 393 elementary school students worked on the "All Roads Lead To Greenacres" mural, which is 11-feet-wide by 6-feet-high. Inspiration for the mural derived from four categories: caring, conserving, celebrating, and creativity and learning.
"The more you engage children, the more they learn," said Feeney. "Hands on projects have a great ability to inspire."
Feeney, a trained commercial artist and photographer, is an FIT graduate who also took classes at School of Visual Arts. She comes from a long line of creative folks. Her late mother was a singer, painter and calligrapher. Woodworking was her late father's avocation. And her grown daughter is now in California pursuing acting, but it was during her daughter's time in youth theater that Feeney began honing her skills as a muralist. Painting set designs led to her first commissions in the New York City Schools, and more recently to the Viola Elementary School in Suffern.
The Greenacres mural took more than two months to complete but Feeney said it was a labor of love.
"It was so great to watch the children tag-team," the artist said. She worked in groups of four. Each time their was a changing of the guard, the current crew would instruct the next crew on what needed to be done.
The 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders learned how to translate an 11” sketch to an 11’ mural. Each student learned how to grid a canvas to break down the design into small squares to make the large drawing a joint effort. Sixty-six square canvases were individually drawn and then joined together to create the 11’ x 6’ surface.
All told, the acrylic mural required 30 paint brushes and nine quarts of paint. The unveiling ceremony will include songs and a presentation by Feeney.
"It is a great feeling to create art," Feeney added. Especially when you're doing it with children."
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