This post is going to be more of a photo essay. I want to share my recent experience doing an artist in schools residency in Nondalton. First welcome to Nondalton! It takes about an hour to fly there from Anchorage, located on the Alaska Peninsula on Six Mile Lake which drains out of Lake Clark and into the Newhalen River. I was there in April, during their last two weeks of school so the lake was frozen, but you couldn't quite trust the ice to go too far. Even though it was break up you could tell the importance of the geography of the watershed. People drive over the lake in the winter and use boats to get around in the summer.
Above: The elementary students out for a walk; the Nondalton School; Living on Six Mile Lake
My first week there I worked with the elementary students (two classes grades K-2 and 3-6). We did a lot of drawing and painting and getting ready to create a mural during culture week with the rest of the school.
Above: Drawing and painting with Nondalton Students. First three photos by Scott Studie.
Below is some of the student artwork that went into the mural. The collages are by the K-2 class and the watercolor and pencil illustrations are by students in grades K-8. Can you find these illustrations in the finished mural at the bottom of this post?
The second week of my residency was also Culture Week. The students participated in activities including making beaded gloves, learning Dena’ina, learning about the local plants and stories, and painting the mural. They were in small groups of all ages so they worked together. It took their drawings, like the ones above, and transferred them onto the wall for them to paint. One of the first things we did was paint the stairway where the whole school meets every morning. Each student got to paint their own fish. The rest of the walls represent different seasons, and some of the important plants, animals, and activities throughout the year.
Above: Students and teachers paint the mural during culture week.
Below are some paintings of the finished mural. I'm really proud of how it turned out and how the students worked hard to make it happen. It should brighten up the school for years to come!
Above: The murals and some details (click on the images to see the gallery)