Arts Integration in action at the Healey

healey school, mural, arts integration, mystic river, flora, fauna

If you have passed through the front entrance of the Arthur D. Healey School, you have seen the stunning mosaic mural on the left. This public art project was a collaboration between Healey students, art teacher Mikkel Della Camera, and well-known, local muralist, David Fichter.

Iridescent glass tiles depict "Flora and Fauna of the Mystic River", a theme chosen by Principal Jill Geiser and Ms. DellaCamera to reflect the school's proximity to the Mystic River Watershed. Students studied the biology of the Mystic River Watershed ecosystem, chose a plant, animal or fish to illustrate, developed an understanding of the mosaic production process through hands-on work, expanded their visual vocabulary and developed working relationships with a professional artist. Still, for Ms. DellaCamera, the best part of the project was that "the students did it ALL from start to finish."

During science class, third to Eighth graders developed a working knowledge of the ecology of the Mystic River in order to provide illustrations that Mr. Fichter pieced together into a collage of student work, measuring 6 feet by 10 feet.

Students working with an illustration for the mural

Healey students in grades 5, 6, and 7 learned the fundamentals of mosaic design from Mr. Fichter, spending 10 days together to cut and place glass tiles into their design. Safety goggles and other safety precautions were taught and followed.

Student pieces tiles onto the mural

On the last two days, students, Ms. DellaCamera and parent volunteers cemented tiles onto cement panels and grouted. The mosaic was assembled, then unveiled in April of 2015.

Students and David Fichter working on mural

Visit the West Somerville Neighborhood School to see another example of a student-artist collaborative mural. There is also a plan for a mosaic mural at the Albert. F. Argenziano School at Lincoln Park.


R. Ronen, Communications Specialist, Somerville Public Schools
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