CHS Art Scholars Painting Mural at the Portsmouth Art & Cultural Center

Blog Post by Jean Stith with Jamie Cosumano

PACC Art Education Mural Service Project


Mrs. Gayle Paul, Director of the Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center, invited the Art Scholars of Churchland High School to design and paint a mural for their art education and activities center in the spring of 2013. Ms Cosumano and Mrs. Stith organized a design competition among all the visual art scholars which involved the application of the students’ knowledge and appreciation for modern art history.

 The Art Scholars are required to perform 15 hours of art-related community service every school year as part of the art honors curriculum. An opportunity such as the mural is especially appreciated by them.

 Many strong designs were submitted and the students were encouraged to combine the best ideas into 2 or 3 submissions for Mrs. Paul and her team to review. The design seen here, by Tyler Grimsley, was selected by the museum staff. Tyler met with Mrs. Paul and her team to finalize their desires for the mural. Tyler’s revisions were approved in June and we all anticipated starting the mural in October of the next school year.



The mural is overwhelming in total size, 10 feet 4 inches tall by 32 and 1/2 feet long , but the art scholars were unfazed by the challenge.  The drafting began in earnest on October 27th. The students have met with either Ms Cosumano or Mrs. Stith on Tuesdays and Wednesdays after school or on Saturdays and Sundays to establish the layout. Tyler’s plan was smartly drawn to the scale of 1“ on paper to 10” on the wall.


The mural includes the fathers of Modern Art; Marcel Duchamp, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Piet Mondrian. These artists represent Conceptualism, Abstraction and Nonobjective Art respectively.
As the roots of 20th century art, the images that represent these masters are centrally located in the design. Other artists of significance are also represented. They are Ellsworth Kelly, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keefe, Bridget Riley, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol, Frida Khalo, Victor Vassarly and Jasper Johns.

1. The chaotic work bench of latex paint awaiting use on the mural.






2. The sign in sheet we used to track the volunteer hours worked by each student artist. The post-it notes are how the students communicated with each other on different shifts on different days!






3. Elisha Gaskins at work on the Russian Supremacists reproduction.








4. Isael Palone was interrupted while painting the organic frond shapes in the Matisse reproduction.









 5. Tyler and Elisha consult the diagram before continuing to work.

Rothko, Ellsworth Kelly and Jasper Johns are roughed in. The students who participated were Sufyan Shambley and designer Tyler Grimsley.

Keenan Diggs-Rhodes, Isael Palone and Israel Guerrero. Isael completed the layout for the Matisse section and began painting the frond shapes with a vivid chartreuse.
 Israel Guerrero drew Jasper John’s “targets” and created the cool 3-d effect of the layered flags.
Keenen Diggs Rhodes began the linear and geometric components to the Russian piece (Tyler has to provide the name) Bonus points if you know it!


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