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A Picture of Wellness at Monument Elementary

April 27, 2013 | Community News, Trenton

The mural comes to life at Monument Elementary School

A rising sun, children at play and heaps of healthy fruits and vegetables are the striking images in an outdoor mural at Monument Elementary School completed on April 27.

The mural, designed and executed by local artist Jonathan Conner (aka Lank) with the assistance of artist Willie Condry, Jr. (aka Kasso) and community members, is the crowning achievement of a year-long wellness transformation at the school.

The school’s Wellness Council, which has been overseeing and supporting efforts to create and maintain a healthier environment for students, wanted a mural for the playground as a finale to the environmental changes and improvements that have taken place at Monument Elementary. “The school has healthy choices in the cafeteria, KABOOM! playground equipment, a running track and designated areas for basketball, soccer, street hockey and hopscotch. The mural is the culmination of the work and vision emphasizing wellness,” explains Marissa Davis, NJPHK-Trenton project manager. Davis worked with the Wellness Committee to select the artist and coordinate the creation of the mural.

Volunteers “color between the lines” to complete the Monument Elementary School mural

In the Fall of 2012, the council put out a bid for a mural that incorporated health and wellness. They chose Conner’s submission, which exudes joy while promoting youth health and fitness.

Conner has designed artwork and signage for Whole Foods Market and is a member of the mural group S.A.G.E. Collective. He also works with the public art organization Albus Cavus, participating in public art and mural projects along the east coast. He’s a graduate of the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Ore., and  teaches drawing and two-dimensional design at Mercer County Community College.

The mural stands about 25 ft. tall and approximately 50 ft. wide at the base. Connor rented a 19-ft. scissor lift to execute the project and spent two days prepping and priming the wall with white paint. Then he projected the mural onto the wall and drew out the design with spray paint so he and his team of volunteer painters would know what areas to fill in with different colors.

The Monument Elementary School mural depicts a variety of images, including children at play and healthy snacks

Painting day coincided with the YMCA Healthy Kids Day on April 27 and local volunteer church groups lent a hand to complete the mural. Given its size, there were large areas to complete, so it was fairly easy to put volunteers to work painting the grass and sky.

Thanks to the Monument School administration, the Wellness Council, Conner’s vision, and the effort of volunteers, Monument’s students and the community now have a towering work of art to celebrate and commemorate the school’s healthy environment.

The completed mural at Monument Elementary School

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