Submitted by Simsbury Public Schools
Located in a distant corner of the Simsbury High School building, the hallways of the Joe Townsley Library Media Center have traditionally been characterized by hushed tones and hunched shoulders as students have gone about the serious business of studying. The students’ earnest approach to learning is unlikely to change for the new school year, but now they will have a much more cheerful environment in which to work, with a mural painted by artist M-C Lamarre.
Highly regarded for her painted depictions of the “Green Monster” wall at Boston’s Fenway Park, Lamarre takes interior design to a monster level. Her business is unique in that clients can choose any game from the field that holds special significance for them and have it recreated on almost any surface. However, with the student population of SHS constituting a virtual Red Sox versus Yankee battlefield, painting a sports-themed mural was out of the question. Instead, the School Beautification Committee—a group made up of teachers, administrators and students familiar with Lamarre’s previous work enhancing SHS’s gym and gym lobby—commissioned a mural that would “celebrate the academic culture.” The result is getting rave reviews from the library media staff and other passer-bys. Floor-to-ceiling graphic icons in lively shades of blue and green combine to create a stimulating yet peaceful environment.
Said Lamarre, “I’m a travel bug, so the colors were inspired by a globe and old maps. Because of budget concerns, the colors come out of only three cans, so it will be easy to maintain.”
As to the rest of the design thought process, Lamarre added, “The challenge was the volume of the space, and the images had to be timeless, not department-related.”
Due to a teacher’s suggestion and considering the hallway’s proximity to the library media center, the artist discovered the ideal design solution in a timeless method for organization—the Dewey Decimal System. With not enough columns to assign an image for each category, Lamarre chose representations that would work best visually, starting with the 000’s, “computer science information & general works.”
SHS Principal Neil Sullivan, who served as a member of the committee, commended all of the people who were involved in the project. He said, “Our custodial crew deserves a huge thanks for helping with the painting of the walls at an unbelievably busy time of year. The teamwork on the project was fabulous, and we now have an interesting and welcoming space that we think students will enjoy.’
Added Sullivan, “We are really pleased with our partnership with M-C. We felt like she really understood our culture at the same time that she could make the space bold and fun. The finished product is awesome!”
More photos of the SHS mural and further information about M-C Lamarre can be found at http://www.mclamarre.com/.