In The Garden Community

Title:  In The Garden Community

Site:  Pullman Elementary School

Artist: Olivia Gude


Community Participants: 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students of Pullman Elementary School

Sponsors: Illinois Arts Council Artist-In-Residency Program and the Pullman School

Year:  1995

Scale: Walls and ceiling of a room

Materials:  Acrylic Paint

Information:  The students of Pullman Elementary School once ate lunch in a dreary basement lunchroom. The principal suggested that the space shouldn’t be referred to as the “basement,” but as the “garden floor.” Thus began the project to transform the cafeteria—painting all the walls and ceiling.

Students studied botany, learning major classifications of types of leaves and flowers. They also studied such patternmaking techniques such as bi-lateral and radial symmetry. After a parent painted the base color of blue over the entire cafeteria, students began to transform the space into a garden with large-scale versions of their unique flower designs. Two third grade classes created leaf designs with cut paper. These become the crown of leaves that stretches from the tree trunks painted onto the wall onto the ceiling above the cafeteria tables.