By Seth Daniel
What has turned into a welcome art project in Beachmont had its humble beginnings in a Seacoast Academy classroom with two teachers, a few curious students and a bag of plastic drinking cups.
Using a little bit of ingenuity, and some art and mathematic skill, Teachers Karen Suttle and Stacey Livote motivated a growing group of students build creative messages and pictures using cups on a chain link fence.
The result has been hundreds of ‘honks’ and immeasurable numbers of ‘thumbs up.’
Right now, students have just recently created their cup mural for Memorial Day. On the fence in front of the school – facing large volumes of traffic on Bennington Street – the message reads ‘Celebrate – Honor – Remember’ and is framed by two skillfully executed American flags.
“We try to do this each year for the veterans and Memorial Day,” said Teacher Karen Suttle. “We will leave this one up until July 4. It’s a creative thing the kids can do and it allows the kids to let the local veterans know we appreciate them…We’ll do something at the beginning of the school year. It’s a lot of fun and we’re getting good feedback from the community. People honk and people stop and they really appreciate it. One man from East Boston saw it and called up to find out how he could do the same thing at his house.”
She said they began using regular cups and paying for them with their own funds, but now they have been able to get a grant from RevereCARES. With that, they were able to secure new and better cups that are customized to be used specifically in fence murals.
Suttle and Principal Steve Magno said the students have done murals for Autism Awareness, the anti-smoking effort ‘Kick Butts,’ and other special school efforts.
“It really helps the kids to be able to practice their visual and special skills,” said Magno. “They can practice these things in a very hand-on way. It’s gives them an opportunity to do something academic, but at the same time to do something for the neighborhood. People see us out there and they can see we’re out doing a lot for the community.”
Sophomore Brandon Marchetti said he has worked on several of the cup murals, and he said that interest amongst student volunteers is growing as more and more people see the murals.
Aleesa Dellorfano, a freshman, worked on the current mural and it was the first time she had done it.
She said it was more challenging to make than she suspected.
“It was hard because when you get the design, everything has to line up perfectly,” she said. “It was also hard because everyone is trying to do it at the same time and you have to work together. If someone is off, you have to work well with them and let them know they’re messing up without offending them.”
Dellorfano said a lot of people have commented on the mural and she is proud to have worked on it.
“I feel famous,” she said with a smile.
Teacher Karen Suttle (middle, front) and Principal Steve Magno (center, back) with several Seacoast Academy students who built the current ‘cup mural’ on the fence of the Beachmont School. Students worked for several hours to create the mural that honors veterans for Memorial Day.
The full mural stretches more than 25 yards and reads, ‘Celebrate – Honor – Remember.’