School mural turns recyclables into art

A new mural now hangs in the main entrance hallway of Miller-Driscoll School.
The eight-by-four-foot mural was completed by a group of second graders in the school. The project comes as part of Miller-Driscoll’s Green Team work to raise awareness for recycling. The Miller-Driscoll Green Team is a branch of the Wilton Go Green Zero Waste Schools Committee.
“As a green team we are trying to help run our zero waste program in the cafeteria and also trying to raise awareness for students, families and teachers about how we can reduce waste,” said Green Team Co-Chair Tammy Thornton.

Thornton has helped to run the Green Team at Miller-Driscol for the past two years. Recycling and raising awareness is a personal passion, she said. The Green Team at each school in Wilton came out of the zero waste programming being put into the cafeterias.
“We’re trying to have a team of people at each school to do more and other things outside of the cafeteria,” Thornton said.
In the 2017-2018 school year she ran a school recycling poster contest. A winner from each grade would go on to have their picture blown up and placed in the cafeteria.
For this school year she wanted to do another student-involved art program. The inspiration to make a mural came while Thornton was visiting a museum in North Carolina.
“I saw this mural of a very Shakespearean character that was made out of plastic waste and little plastic pieces,” she said.
In August she spoke with art teachers to bring her idea to fruition. After getting approval from principal Kathryn Coon, they started working to bring the idea to fruition.
“We started asking parents to collect and send to school any small items of any color that were clean,” Thornton said.
People would send in small pieces of games, beads, bottle caps and more, she said. Parents also sent in old markers, crayons and pieces of pencil, she added.
“We collected items from October through November,” Thornton said.

While items were collected the art teachers took a foam board and painted a background. They would go on to create an ocean scene with fish for the students.
Several early release days around Thanksgiving gave time for second grade students to participate in glueing the objects onto the foam board. Around 60 students worked to complete the mural and by December the mural was completed, Thornton said.
“A lot of plastic waste ends up in our waterways,” she said of the mural’s message. “This is a beautiful art mural, but at the same time it has a lot of underlying meanings that you can look at.”