After months of waiting, Harborview Elementary School students will finally have a chance to view their completed artwork. It will hang at The Canvas community art studio and gallery this week as the final piece in a collaborative arts and education project through Whale Trust.
Nearly 200 individual pieces will be assembled to make up the completed art. It hangs as a tribute of sorts to the humpback whale. Painted in acrylic, each canvas represents how elementary students from different regions - Alaska and Hawaii - interpret whale behavior.
From Monday through Friday, students, locals and the like have the opportunity to see the entire project on display free of charge. The paintings, created over the course of the 2008-2009 school year were originally created for the annual Whale Quest event in Kahalui, Hawaii, which was held this past February.
Alaska coordinator Liz Stahl said the goal was to encourage students to express what they wanted others to know about the large mammal.
"You can do anything you want," she told the students. "Your message can be anything as long as it has to do with whales."
She gave the example of one girl who's dream was to be able to look into the eye of a humpback. So she drew one large whale eye on her piece.
"It was really great to see the abilities that came through the students," Stahl said. "The confidence, artistry - the abilities they didn't know they had."
For the project, Harborview students studied, journaled, blogged and listened to guest professionals speak on humpbacks and their behavior.
Meanwhile students from Pomaika'i Elementary in Kaualua on Maui, studied similarly and in the end painted the whale behavior most often seen in Hawaii's warmer waters.
In all, the students spent five months researching humpback whales. Once the canvases from Juneau were complete, they were shipped to Hawaii. The Harborview students never got to see the completed project on display, so Stahl requested it be mailed to Juneau. M.K. McNaughton, program developer at The Canvas, agreed to put the project on display in August.
The display is open to the public during regular Canvas hours. For more informatio, contact The Canvas at 586-1750.
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