Fishtown students paint works of art, using school building as canvas

Students in Fishtown are working on a Mural Arts Philadelphia project and the canvas is their very own school.

Students, parents and staff at Alexander Adaire Public School spent Saturday morning painting their aquatic themed mural.

"I’m painting a kelp that’s going to go right along those pillars there," said student Rosemary O’Neill. "The mural is coming together, step-by-step, so some other day we’re going to make fishes and giant octopus legs."

Parent Ben Volta is also a mural art artist who pitched the idea and gained the support of Friends of Adaire, Philadelphia Mural Arts and the Marazzo Family Foundation.


"We had multiple meetings and kids kept coming back to saying that we want fish. We have this idea of DNA going up the side, over 600 fish, all created with the kids in this idea that creativity is in our DNA," said Volta. "It’s building up to this big moment that we can all celebrate together and I think that energy and excitement is really unique to murals and public art."

About 400 kindergarten through 8th grade students attend Adaire. Michelle Jones is the art teacher of the school who is working closely with students on the project during art class.

"The kids are always going to be able to come back and see exactly what they contributed and I think that makes it really special for them," said Jones.

Students said their school building needed a makeover and they’re excited to see all their hard work come together.

"Now we just got to set up all the scales because we painted most of the stuff, so yeah, it’s going to be pretty good," said student Milo Volta.

"The paint was chipping and it was all…it kind of looked like a jail cell from the outside," said Nola Jones. "Just take care of your school and treat it like it’s home."

The mural is expected to be finished by the end of the school year.