McKinley middle school unveils ‘Art of Science’ mural

May 9, 2014 Editorial Staff
Share this:

Over eight years in the making and with more than 600 students involved, the 1,500-foot long mural at William McKinley I.S. 259 finished its recent addition. The newly added mural is called the “The Art of Science.”

“First of all, when you walk through the hallway, it doesn’t have that institutional school feeling,” said Thomas Buxton, creator of the science mural and a teacher at I.S. 259, mentioning that the St. Peter’s Square in Italy is 600-feet wide, and that McKinley’s mural is double the size of that.

The mural focuses on the Renaissance scientific and technological achievement. It was designed to resemble a 16th Century Medici villa looking out to the countryside while reflecting on the science of that period. It also includes an astronomical clock, Leonardo De Vinci, Isaac Newton and brief vignettes on the wall that specify what the scientists contributed to that specific time.

“It started in the strangest way. A student of mine gave me a refrigerator magnet and on it was one of the many images of Rosie the Riveter,” Buxton said, “and I looked at the magnet and there was something about it that bothered me.”

He realized that Rosie the Riveter’s pose was exactly the same pose of Michelangelo’s “Prophet Isaiah,” which was painted on the Sistine Chapel. When he showed the comparison to his students, they wanted to know everything, “the whole nine yards.”

Buxton said that the incident became a springboard to shifting his entire curriculum to literature, fiction and non-fiction combined with artwork to stimulate the students and “we ended with this.” While Buxton taught literature and designed the mural, an art teacher taught art techniques.

As for the students, they loved it. “The kids, they grow so much because it necessitates you treat them like adults. You need to make changes on the go, what colors to use, when to modify,” said Buxton. “They’re 12 to 14 year olds but, as they begin to grow, they take more responsibility. They’re young adults. They’re great. The more responsibility you give them, the more they respond.”

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment