More than a year after a group of art students completed it, a new mural celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Pittston Area School District now adorns a courtyard at the high school.
“It’s such a relief,” said art teacher Judy Greenwald. “I thought we were never going to get it up.”
Greenwald’s students and art club members painted the mural in the spring of 2019, under the tutelage and watchful eye of artist-in-residence Leigh Pawling.
“When Leigh got there we had the kids come up with ideas,” she said. “That mural represents everybody’s ideas.”
The finished mural features ties to Pittston Area’s history, such as the school’s original logo alongside the current mascot.
Once the design came together, Pawling, Greenwald and the students set to work. They projected the design onto the canvas in 10 sections, then traced the projected images.
Once the full mural had been traced, they started to paint.
“It took a long time,” Greenwald said.
Some students even came in over the summer of 2019 to help finish the project.
Despite the long timeline, Greenwald believes murals are the best project to do with a large group, especially when they have the chance to bring in an artist-in-residence.
“We definitely wanted to do something that would go in the school,” she said. “This is the second time Leigh has worked with us. We really love her. She has a lot of training in murals.”
Greenwald had intended to install the mural with student help during the spring semester in 2020, but when the state shut down schools to slow the spread of COVID-19, those plans had to wait.
She enlisted the help of another teacher and a former student, and over two days this summer, they installed the mural on a formerly blank wall in one of the high school courtyards.
“It was just hanging around too long,” Greenwald said. “When we put it up I just thought, ‘Oh my God, it worked!’”
The students who created it, many of them graduates of the Class of 2020, have still not seen it in person. With Pittston Area still teaching virtually, no students have had a chance to see the installed mural, Greenwald said.
For now, with Pittston Area still using virtual methods, only Greenwald and the other teachers can see the installed mural on campus.
Greenwald said she has sent photos of the finished product to the students who helped create it.
“They’re thrilled,” she said.