A sampling of O’Brien’s spray-painted plastic water bottle flowers.

Deck the Halls

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Thursday March 27, 2014

The halls of a typical school, most people would agree, could use a little sprucing-up. Ali Barritt, a freshman at SBHS, has joined the effort in doing so. 

Barritt has been helping one of Hinesburg Community School’s (HCS) art teachers, Katie O’Brien, with her current art installations for the school, prompted by a grant given to the school’s art department. The installations are quite diverse. One is a mural of birch trees covered with birds. The trees and birds both are student-made, the trees by using popsicle sticks and paint, and the birds, collages made with painted paper. Another installation is plastic-water-bottle-based and is inspired by the artist Dale Chihuly. It involves three tiers of circular plywood covered with spray-painted water bottle flowers that will hang from the ceiling. There will also be braided plastic bag vines that some of the flowers will hang from. The majority of the bottles are cut up by the students. 

Barritt has been contributing to the advancement of these projects in her free time. She designated time on February 2, to go into HCS to help complete the birch tree and bird mural by gluing the Eric-Carle-styled birds onto plywood. As for the water bottle project, Barritt has been putting time in here and there, cutting water bottles into flowers primarily, as well as braiding the plastic bag vines and collecting bottles. In February, she brought the idea of a water bottle collection event to the Coalition for Community Service (CCS), a club at SBHS, where she notified the members that she would have a booth in the lobby, for students to donate water bottles in exchange for required hours of student community service. 

When asked why she resolved to help out with the creation of HCS art installations, Barritt responded, “I think that it’s a superb idea to spiff-up schools with fun, interesting art installations, especially ones that the students partake in. I’m particularly impressed with the fact that some of the installations are recycle-oriented. I’m ecstatic that I have the opportunity to be a part of this.”  

Barritt has already put approximately five and a half hours into the projects and will continue to help out as long as she can find breathing-room in her schedule. 

Other art installations in-the-making include a project where students create flowers out of painted paper that will be glued onto a student-created painting of a vase with stems, and another where three painted plywood flowers are embellished with medallions, both medallions and flowers designed by students. The flowers will be placed in front of the school by April, the vase of flowers will be on display in a hallway by the school’s gym by late March, the water bottle flower ceiling decorations will adorn the school’s ceilings sometime in April, and the bird and birch tree mural is already on display in the primary wing of the school. Unlike other schools, HCS’s halls will be eye-catching!

SOURCE: Alli Barritt, SBHS 2017, CDC Correspondent