New French-Inspired Mural Debuts Off Thayer Street on December 12

December 5, 2019

A new work of public art, inspired by the 1915 water gardens of French Impressionist Claude Monet, with a QR code to lead the viewer via mobile phone to the actual film of Monet working on the same scene, will be revealed at a ribbon-cutting, Thursday, December 12 at 3 p.m at 82 Fones Alley off Thayer Street in Providence. The mural has been created by students, alumni and the Visual Arts Department faculty of The Wheeler School as the second mural in a new Thayer Street Public Art Project in Providence. The public is invited.


Children help paint an outdoor mural

After a successful debut with a mural featuring the urban coyote at 294 Thayer, the Thayer Street District Management Authority offered The Wheeler School a second public art opportunity.  They requested a French theme based at the new site’s location on Fones Alley adjacent to La Creperie.

Visual Arts Department Head Bob Martin said of the new work: “For the basis of our mural, we chose a panoramic view of Monet’s water garden taken from actual motion picture footage of Monet at work in 1915.   Having painted a Monet-inspired landscape in their classes last spring, students from Kindergarten and Lower School were ready, willing, and able to begin work on the lower portion of the mural. High school-aged students from our Studio Arts program added more landscape details, while two Wheeler seniors, Delaney Foss and Chloe Guo, contributed to the finish work on the figure of Monet and the water lilies. A QR code placed on Monet’s palette will send viewers on their smart-phones to see the actual black and white film of Monet working on the very scene depicted in our mural.”

Martin explained the School’s connection to the subject matter depicted in the new mural. “We were more than happy to create a French theme as the proposed subject allowed us to highlight our founder Mary Wheeler’s many French connections:  six years of study in Paris, more than 20 years of summer visits with Wheeler School students, and a presenter at several international Art Education symposia. For these efforts, Mary C. Wheeler was named an Officer of the French Royal Academy by the French Government in 1911.   The last six years of Miss Wheeler’s annual trips to France were spent in Giverny where she leased a house and gardens next door to Claude Monet.”

Wheeler School Head Allison Gaines Pell said, “this type of creative undertaking engages our students as members of the neighborhood to create something that the nearby college and university communities, visitors and the whole City of Providence can enjoy. The hours of work to research, design and then create these new community landmarks on Thayer Street is part of our academic mission to have students ‘learn their powers and be answerable for their use.’ We are delighted that Wheeler is able to add to the vibrant landscape of Thayer Street in a way that is both educational and joyful.”

Donna Personeus, Executive Director of the Thayer Street District Management Authority, said, “TSDMA is thrilled to continue our Thayer Public Art Program Partnership with The Wheeler School. Our goal is to engage with the community around Thayer Street, and Wheeler School helps us achieve this goal. They are the perfect partner with their staff, teachers, and students participating in the mural’s creation.  With our second mural, we welcome a new partner, Shake Shack. The Thayer Street Shack donates 5% of sales from the Pie Oh My to the Thayer Street District Management Authority’s Public Art Fund. The paints and supplies for this mural were mostly funded by Shake Shack and the TSDMA.”

Paul Griesinger, President of Capstone Properties said of the project, “We are thrilled to be working with The Wheeler School and the TSDMA to bring these thought-provoking art installations to Thayer Street. We hope to continue with other similar projects to bring art to the street.”

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