By Elise Franco
A group of art students is leaving its mark on the walls of Austintown Fitch High School.
About 25 juniors and seniors in the advanced art class will spend at least one day each week creating a mural that, when finished, will depict their idea of the four seasons, said Patti Prentiss, Fitch art teacher.
“They needed to choose something thematic that would give them a lot of content to work with,” she said. “They’re working now on painting the winter and spring seasons, and it has a fantasy component to it.”
The mural, which will extend nearly the entire length of the hallway leading to the auditorium, is a project three years in the making, Prentiss said.
After students completed a painted mural in the hallway near her classroom, Prentiss said Principal Doug McGlynn asked if they could take on another.
“When your principal wants you to do something, you do the best you can,” she said. “It’s very ambitious, certainly, and the biggest one we’ve done.”
Prentiss said the mural was designed and is being carried out almost completely by students, including sketching the mural then projecting it onto the wall to use as an outline for their work.
Gloria Pridemore, 17, said she helped with the design drawings and loves watching it come to life at the hands of her classmates.
“It’s really great to see the younger people working,” she said. “To see the drawings painted is exciting, because they’re leaving their mark.”
Pridemore, who has worked on the mural for three years, said everyone who’s had a hand in the project will be leaving a piece of themselves behind at Fitch.
“Some people think that to do anything big you have to leave here,” she said. “But to know I could come back in 20 years and this will still be here — that’s what it means to us.”
Autumn Dixon, 17, said she’s worked on the mural before and is excited to see the finished product.
“It’s improved a lot, especially with everyone working on it and giving it their personal touch,” she said. “I like the winter section best so far because of how expressive it is.”
Prentiss said the most challenging part of moving the work along was keeping students involved in the mural. She said some students in past classes preferred other art forms to painting or weren’t confident enough in their skills.
“Any time you’re painting in a public venue, where your peers can see you working, it’s a different ballgame,” she said. “I tell them to do what they can, and the subject matter doesn’t guarantee success. The artist makes it happen.”
Prentiss said she’d like the mural to be completed before classes break for the Christmas holiday.
“I’m very impressed with what they’ve done so far,” she said. “I have a super group this year.”