NORTH OGDEN — Artist Stacy Harris grew up in North Ogden, so when North Ogden Elementary School asked her to do some artwork with students, she didn’t hesitate. And now, six months after the idea was hatched, students have their own artwork to adorn their halls.
Harris started meeting with school Principal David Rhees and third-grade teacher Jolaine Garner in April to talk about what could be done with art that would help each student. In the past, the school has used an artist in residence, which has been paid for by a grant from the state, but the artist only works with one grade level.
This year, they wanted every student in the school to participate in the project, Garner said. Instead of using the state-sponsored program, the school paid for its own artist in residence.
Harris taught high school and junior high school art and now is a stay-at-home mom. She teaches private art lessons and does mural work with her sister. She will do a similar artist-in-residence project at Bates Elementary School in January.
Harris came up with the idea to create murals for the school. She and her husband stretched the canvas, and she created a grid with several pictures of local landmarks — an eagle, which is the school’s mascot; Ogden’s Union Station; Antelope Island; Delicate Arch; and a photo of Ron and Ginger Brown, well-known in the community for their service in Weber School District as teachers and leaders, and for their expert cowboy skills.
She divided the grades up for the murals, and each student — along with the teachers — was able to paint their own grid.
Before the larger murals were done, Harris taught a master’s class to the students so they could learn about well-known artists and have a chance to work with the kind of paint they would be using on the murals.
“Many of the kids had never done this kind of work before,” Harris said as she taped off some of the grids on the large mural for students to paint.
Rhees has been very impressed by the artwork his students have turned out.
“It is just stunning,” he said as he viewed each of the murals.
Ian Briskey, 7, carefully painted feathers on his part of the eagle and gave them a special flair, as Harris showed him how to hold the brush and make it look just right.
“It’s just fun,” Ian said, grinning as he mixed some colors.
Harris enjoyed the one-on-one time she spent with the students to help them understand how the art works.
“They have seemed to really enjoy it,” she said.
Rhees said the project and the whole experience has been just what his students needed.
“This is work that real artists do,” Rhees said. “Plus, we kept it all close, so it’s relevant to Utah and what they know and are familiar with.”
For more information on Harris and her artwork ,visit her website at