CAPE ELIZABETH – Students at the middle school are taking time lunches to put the finishing touches on a mural before it is unveiled during the annual Arts Night next week.

“It’s been a lot of fun,” Josh Graessle, 14, said of the flexibility to take time from his normal day to work on the class project.

Classmates Austin Andrews and Trevor Gale, both 14, echoed Graessle’s enthusiasm working on the mural funded by the Cape Elizabeth Education Foundation. Art teacher Marguerite Lawler-Rohner was excited for a different reason.

“The boys’ trimester ended quite a while ago, but they come back everyday and work on painting,” she said. “It gives them ownership.”

Arts Night began four years ago, shortly after Lawler-Rohner started at the school.

“When I first came here … (the school) was devoid of color. My reaction was, it was like a blank canvas,” she said.

With the help of parents Suzanne McGinn and Lisa Gent, they organized the first event to display student work and celebrate all the arts at the school, including music.

With 47 students working on the mural during the second trimester, Lawler-Rohner said “there’s nothing like painting on a wall.”

Gale said there was a lot to learn about the acrylic paints the students used, as well as painting on a larger scale.

“It’s interesting to get the blue to look like it’s water and it’s moving. To make it look like it’s waves and it’s blown by the wind,” he said. Working from a photograph taken by Jack Kennealy, Andrews said it was a process to set up a grid on the wall and draw the whole image in before the painting began.

Through the process, the three students said they’ve learned a lot about painting and working cooperatively.

“We want this building to reflect the learning that takes place here,” Lawler-Rohner said.

The Arts Night highlights the artistic endeavors in the middle school, and for the second year, at Pond Cove as well.

“It’s a nice way to share the students’ talents,” McGinn said.

As a supporter of the arts in school, McGinn said the night helps promote the work students have done.

“I think (art) leads to a well- rounded educational experience for children,” she said.

“Arts is the common thread that holds us all together,” Lawler-Rohner said.

In the hall that connects the middle school to Pond Cove, students will have tables set up to sell their artwork made outside of the classroom. Students sell items from photography to jewelry or pillows.

“That does really well for the kids,” McGinn said.

Showcasing the work of average art student to the avid art student, Lawler-Rohner said it’s an opportunity to bring the community in and recognize the work students are doing.

“It’s a celebration of all the arts,” she said.


Staff Writer Emma Bouthillette can be contacted at 791-6325 or at: [email protected]


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