Students create mural for dementia unit at Hopkins Manor

Students create mural for dementia unit at Hopkins Manor

NORTH PROVIDENCE - They researched, sketched and painted, and now, five months later, North Providence High School art students are ready to show off their mural masterpiece to the school before it is donated to the Hopkins Manor Ltd. Special Care Unit.

Led by Patricia Lucciola, Unified Arts Department chairwoman, and Ian Hillman, art teacher, six art students have created a 24-by-4-foot mural of Newport Harbor at dawn.

"We left it up to them," Lucciola said. "I was the boo-boo fixer-upper."

She also painted the bridge off to the distance of the scene that showcases the expansive harbor with waves, rocks, sailboats, seagulls and a pink sky. A lighthouse was also added.

The mural will be featured at the Unified Arts Exhibition in the NPHS Hope Senecal Art Gallery on Thursday, May 9, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. The exhibit will also include 300 pieces of student art work, and music from the NPHS jazz band.

The students are seniors Lynnette Munoz, Bethanie Lacroix and Alexia Reyes, and juniors Liam Thompson, Kyle Calandra and Brianna Antonelli.

They were chosen to paint their way through their community service hours required for graduation. But soon after the project started in November, students had surpassed the mandated 15 hours, and showed no signs of slowing down. The entire mural took about 100 hours of labor, Lucciola said.

Students dedicated time during lunch, after school, and even during class when their regular work had been completed.

Liam spent 12 hours on the sky alone after he and his classmates divvied up different responsibilities. Lynnette worked on the water and the lighthouse, Alexia painted the rocks, Kyle created the seagulls and sandy shoreline and Bethanie painted the sailboats, which students named after themselves in place of standard signatures.

Standing back to look at the finished product in the art room earlier this month, students were impressed with their work.

"It looks really good all put together," Liam said. "Seeing it coming together right now brings a special warm feeling to my heart."

Students hope that feeling will continue once the mural is installed in the multipurpose activity room of Hopkins Manor, a 52-bed dementia unit.

In a letter to Lucciola, Admissions Coordinator Patricia Sova said the team decided on a mural of an ocean scene.

"This mural will provide our residents with stimulation of color as well as reflection of their days at the ocean," she wrote.

Liam explained, "That's why we used such bright colors."

It's not the first mural the school's art program has created. Former students have painted a Florida beach scene for Fatima Hospital, a mural of trucks and equipment for the Department of Public Works and a Tuscany scene for the Salvatore Mancini Resource and Activity Center.

Students clearly enjoyed combining their creativity with community service.

"It was a good experience," Kyle said. "We don't really get to do that anywhere else."

Brianna said she likes that the work will be donated.

"We're giving it to someone who really deserves it," she said.

That is why it certainly will not be the last mural project, Lucciola said. A piece for the high school nurse's office is already lined up, as well as a 15-foot mural of Sesame Street for the DaVita Dialysis Center.

"If I stay back, can I work on it?" Lynnette said with a laugh.