The Lower School Learning Tree

"A Learning Tree mural and art installation now fills a wall in the Lower School ... Through words and images, it captures Lovett’s mission and commitment to learning, character, and community. Over the course of the past seven months, every student in the Lower School has played a role in bringing the tree to life."
 

An education of doing and creating…
--Eva Edwards Lovett

 
These words that describe the school Eva Edwards Lovett founded in 1926 were painted on the wall in the Lower School lobby last spring, in tribute to outgoing Head of School Billy Peebles. Immediately, Lower School art teachers Joy Patty and Katherine Schneider began dreaming of ways to communicate the same ideas through design and visual imagery. Less than a year later, their vision has become reality: a “Learning Tree” mural and art installation now fills a wall in the Lower School’s second floor atrium. Through words and images, it captures Lovett’s mission and commitment to learning, character, and community. Over the course of the past seven months, every student in the Lower School has played a role in bringing the tree to life.

The tree itself was designed, created, and installed by artist-in-residence Alan Holcomb, a Georgia-based woodworker and designer; it was installed on a background designed and painted by Ernesto and Lenia Torres of Buckhead Murals.

Over the course of several weeks this winter, every Lower School class met with Mr. Holcomb for lessons on wood as an artistic medium and the fundamentals of his craft. Each fifth grader designed a wooden leaf, many of which now decorate the tree. All students had the pleasure of watching the Mr. Holcomb cut and install hundreds of individually crafted pieces of  “bark.”

While fifth graders designed leaves for the mural, the tree motif found its way into art projects for the other grades as well. Third and fourth graders studied artist Gustav Klimt and his famous mural “The Tree of Life.” They created their own trees in his style, using metallic markers and decorative rhinestones. First and second grades experimented with different media as they designed leaves on wood blocks. Kindergartners created classroom “Friendship Trees,” that include personalized leaves for each child and a tree ladder comprised of words that describe how to make a friend and be a friend.

The Learning Tree project is not yet complete. In the coming weeks, mural artists will return to add images and words that tell the story of learning at Lovett: character, creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication through academics, arts, athletics, and innovation. Special thanks to Lovett’s Friends of the Arts (FOTA) for funding The Learning Tree.
 
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