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Baker School Song 2009

Project Description:

- Artist: Carolyn Elaine

- Participants: Students at Baker Demonstration School (WIlmette, IL)

- Sponsorship: Baker Demonstration School

- 100 sq. ft. Broken Tile Mosaic-Interior Installation


In 1995, Gar Burke, accomplished musician and music teacher at Baker Demonstration School, composed Baker's beloved school song, which is sung by students at least once every week. Because it captures the spirit, ideals and aspirations of Baker so well, the faculty chose the song as the theme for the mural you see before you. 


In 2008, the Integrated Arts Committee invited Artist Carolyn Elaine to help the students of Baker create a permanent installation for the hallway. Ms. Elaine has been a community artist and educator for more than a decade. Her work can be seen on the inside and outside of buildings throughout Chicago. As it happens, Ms. Elaine was mentored early in her career by Miertes Zwierinski, who created the mosaic on the first floor with Baker Students in 2000.


Every class at Baker took part in the creation of this piece of art. Earlier in the year, Mr. Gnutek led the toddler through 3rd grade classes in creating drawings inspired by different parts of the school song. Ms. Elaine then incorporated many of those drawings in the final design for the piece.


Ms. Elaine created a full size template, which was set up on tables in the cafeteria. Class by class the 4th through 8th grader students constructed the mosaic using tile and mirrors, much of which they cut or broke themselves. They also painted the letters for the school song on to the hexagonal white tiles. Several of the classes had workshops with Elaine where they were taught to create paper mosaics. Through these workshops, and through their direct work on the mural, the students experienced how a fine mosaic is created.


When the pieces were all in place, they were taped together into large sections which were carried to this hallway. Ms. Elaine and the students then adhered each section directly to the wall. When all the sections were attached and the adhesive set, the students removed the tape. After carefully preparing the area with maskingtape and drop cloths, the children applied the grout between the pieces.


Our community should be very proud of this mosaic. This collaboration between Ms. Elaine, Mr. Gnutek,  faculty and administrators, students and parent volunteers, is a fitting metaphor for what can be accomplished when you unite beautiful pieces to make a whole.

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