On Tuesday, well-known Seattle muralist Ryan “Henry” Ward began work on a mural at Adams Elementary School (6110 28th Ave NW). The mural is being painted to enhance a newly built outdoor classroom, that was once a neglected courtyard.
Ward became well-known in the Pacific Northwest for the distinct and unique flavor that he brings to his mural work. He has painted murals in India and Thailand and in the past five years he has put up 127 “bold and whimsical” murals, according to our news partners The Seattle Times.
Adams Elementary parent Schelleen Rathkopf envisioned and managed the outdoor classroom project to turn the unused courtyard into a positive space for student learning. “I had been eyeing this neglected courtyard space since my son was in Kindergarten (now in 2nd grade) and decided one day last Fall that it was time to get organized and just do it,” said Rathkopf.
The new classroom has been fitted out with custom built eco-friendly tables to provide seating for up to 30 students. The landscaping was revitalized around the area and Ward designed a 67 foot wide 14 foot high mural to fill the surrounding walls.
Ward’s theme for the mural, “thriving diversity”, fits well with the ethos of the school. The piece will involve a cast of animal characters working together in their natural habitats including the forest, arctic, jungle and water environments. Ward is reportedly a big fan of the commitment to arts infused education at Adams Elementary.
The classroom is located at the center of the school and has access points through the school library and the internal hallway. The space can be used by any teacher to enhance the classroom learning experience or for a reward for student achievement.
The project was funded by the Adams PTA, with support from the Seattle Public School system. “The PTA embraced the project and were thrilled to have someone to manage it from start to finish, causing the least amount of disruption to teachers, staff and kids at the school,” said Rathkopf.
Rathkopf confirmed that all members of the school community reacted positively to the project and are excited to enjoy the new space.
Ward will continue working on the mural and is scheduled to complete it by the weekend, if the weather cooperates.
We will post more photos of the creative mural once it is completed.