by Nathan Warner
Something out of the wild came to life last week at Westwood Elementary. Artist Lisa Arnold worked with 600 students to create a 5-by-5 foot stained glass mosaic of a wolf after the school’s mascot of the Westwood Wild. Westwood art teacher, Amy Cunningham, invited Arnold to be the school’s “artist in residence” for the week.
“This is a dream come true,” Cunningham said. “We’ve been saving for six years to invite an artist to spend time with the kids at our school.”
For one week, Arnold worked with all classrooms’ students to create the work of art.
Cunningham wanted her students to see that art can be a profession for an artist like Arnold and not just a hobby or a teaching position, she said. Cunningham said her objective was for her students learn to work together as a team on a large task that required cooperation and planning. This desire made its way into the mosaic theme.
“The wolf mosaic is made of glass and features mirror shards making up the wolf,” Cunningham said, “so students can see their reflection in it, symbolizing the pride of the wolf pack and what they accomplished together.” The design came about through communications between Cunningham and Arnold.
“Amy gave me some ideas about what she wanted to make and I drew them up,” Arnold recalled, “and she was excited about the plan I had.”
Cunningham also wanted the exercise to include the community in their school. She sent letters to people in the community asking them to donate things for the mosaic.
“We got everything from old coins to little toy trinkets, and we incorporated them into the mosaic,” she said. Adding to the community aspect of the piece, parent volunteers cut the glass shards for the students to use. Arnold loved the community participation.