Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 8, 1999
School mural shows Christian spirit
By RAMON GONZALEZ
WCR Staff Writer
Students at St. Francis Xavier Catholic School can now see their young spirit splashed in full colour on one of the walls of the school's cafetorium.
A $10,000 mural celebrating the Spirit of Youth was unveiled at the cafetorium March 2. The mural depicts young people's spirituality through a series of human-like figures displaying energy, vitality and motion.
Designed and painted by Edmonton artist Maureen Harvey, the 56-by-10-foot mural was done in acrylic paint on six mesonite panels that cover the whole west wall of the cafetorium.
"It's about the spiritual and emotional changes and ideas that take place when young people are in high school and how the Catholic high school has an impact on young high school students at this point in their lives," explained Harvey.
"So it has to do with biological and spiritual and educational changes. It's a very, very exciting time in a young person."
Some of the figures seem to be playing sports but that's not necessarily so. "The figures in the mural are full of energy, just like high school students are but they are not necessarily doing sports," explained Harvey.
"They are moving and they are mentally and physically going through a lot of activity. They are not meant to do a specific activity. It is possible that one student can relate to one figure but not to another; they are left to the individual's interpretation."
There is a cross on each of the six panels as well as a dove flying around. "That represents the spiritualness of Catholic education," Harvey noted.
She expects the mural will trigger ideas as well as emotional and verbal responses.
"My bottom line is that the student will feel some reaction and hopefully it's some spiritual reaction. I think visual arts should strive for some reaction from the viewer. It can't be boring."
To arts teacher Ann Predy, who coordinated the project, the mural "tries to convey young people enjoying life, being united together under the Spirit of God."
"To me it conveys that because it has a playful appearance to it; like the figures are having fun, they are not just standing there straight."
Predy believes the addition of crosses and doves close to the figures give the mural "a spiritual dimension."
The school decided to add a mural to the school last April to commemorate major renovations and expansion of the building. Thirty-three artists submitted proposals. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts covered half of the cost.
"We wanted the school to have more spiritual or Christian imagery in it because it doesn't have enough," Predy said.
They chose the cafetorium (called so because it serves both as cafeteria and auditorium) "because that's where people get together and eat."
"I think it adorns the school in a positive Christian manner."