Photos: Art cooperative

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  • Plains Elementary School preschoolers, from right, Amelie Collett, Gaia Gibaldi and Aubrey Wimer, pantomime some of the creatures in a mural being painted by artist-in-residence Bren Bataclan in the entrance of the South Hadley school on Thursday. The artist, from Boston, took input from the student body of 340 children and incorporated their animal ideas, including a rainbow-tailed squirrel and a “dog-dragon,” into the final design. The one-week artist residency was funded through a grant from the Michael E. Smith Endowment for Excellence in Education. STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

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    Boston-based artist Bren Bataclan works on a mural in the entrance of Plains Elementary School during his one-week residency at the South Hadley school on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Bataclan took input from the student body of 340 pre-schoolers, kindergartners and first graders and incorporated their animal ideas, including a rainbow-tailed squirrel and a "dog-dragon" in the final design. The artist residency was funded through a grant from the Michael E. Smith Endowment for Excellence in Education. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Just a few of the drawings that students at Plains Elementary in South Hadley drew to inspire artist-in-residence Bren Bataclan for a mural in the entrance of the South Hadley school. Photographed on Thursday, March 24, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Boston-based artist Bren Bataclan works on a mural inspired by ideas from the students of Plains Elementary School just around the corner from one of his own works on display, left, in the lobby of the South Hadley school on Thursday, March 24, 2022. Bataclan's one-week artist residency was funded through a grant from the Michael E. Smith Endowment for Excellence in Education. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Photographer
Published: 3/25/2022 1:28:36 PM
Modified: 3/25/2022 1:27:45 PM

SOUTH HADLEY – Boston-based artist Bren Bataclan was the artist-in-residence at Plains Elementary School this week, taking drawings and ideas from the student body of 340 pre-schoolers, kindergartners and first graders to incorporate into an animal-themed mural painted just inside the entrance to the school. The artist residency was funded through a grant from the Michael E. Smith Endowment for Excellence in Education.

According to grant writer Renee Pitre, a speech language pathologist at the school, students worked from the idea that all the animals could be found at the Hitchcock Nature Center in Amherst – with notable exceptions, like a tiger (the school mascot) and a fantasy “doghead-dragon,” thrown in for good measure.

Kevin Gutting can be reached at kgutting@gazettenet.com.
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