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Senior Art Majors Gift Art Work to RBR that Expresses School’s Essence


Senior Art Majors Gift Art Work to RBR that Expresses School’s Essence


RBR senior studio art majors with their mural and their client, the RBR Superintendent who commissioned it. Every year, the graduating studio art majors of Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) Visual & Performing Arts Academy create a final work together and bequeath it to RBR, their legacy to adorn their school walls.  Their teacher Claudia O’Connor, who uses the exercise to simulate a professional job for a business client, assigns the project. Over the years the clients have been various departments of the school and their academies, including the media center. The objective is for the students to visually represent the idea their client envisions regarding the essence of that department or academy.  This year’s seniors included: Isabella Ybarra, Red Bank; Katherine Smith, Spring Lake; Hannah Gazdus, Shrewsbury; Tyler Munoz, Little Silver; Amy Gardner, Union Beach; Sophie Navarro, Little Silver; Morgan Sluka, Avon, and Renee Mercereau, Little Silver. Their client was the RBR Superintendent Dr. Louis Moore, who tasked them with the tall order of capturing the essence of the entire RBR school community in the art mural.

Claudia O’Connor comments, “The idea was kind of abstract in a way, especially with the mural needing to represent our school community and mission, and what we hope it represents to our surrounding communities, and of course as well as being representative of the client's vision. If there was a group of students that I knew could fulfill this task, it was this class of graduating seniors. They are extremely talented, creative, determined and they have a great work ethic.”

            Dr. Moore met with the students several times to describe his vision for the piece, which will adorn the front entrance of the school. 

            He explains, “The original theme started around a lighthouse as RBR is a lighthouse for students to chart their course in life and a beacon to other districts that strive to emulate what we do here. I also wanted them to depict an earthrise, instead of a sunrise, to indicate our students’ commitment to the earth and world community.”

            The resulting work includes a prominent lighthouse amid a giant earthrise in the early hours of the morning when the students first arrive at school.  Several students of various backgrounds, emphasizing RBR’s diversity enter the doors. They are also depicted in two sailing vessels.  One is leaving the school, exemplifying the graduates who are setting sails into their future after learning their academic foundations at RBR. Another boat approaches the dock to the school symbolizing the new students that arrive each year to start their academic journey, so they can one day set sails as well.

            Studio art major Sophie Navarro, one of the students who drew the original sketch explains, “ the lighthouse was on the side as a focal point to attract the people, but the focus is on the school out of which the various academies protrude out of the building.”

            Symbols are attached to those protrusions-- a camera, ballet slipper, music notes, a painter’s palette representing the VPA majors.  A computer and binary code represents the Academy of Information Technology while a $ sign indicates the Academy of Finance, etc... 

            Catherine Smith of Spring Lake adds. “We set the building on a beach to incorporate all the other communities that come to the school, like Union Beach, Bradley Beach Avon, etc.…in addition to the sending districts of Little Silver, Shrewsbury and Red Bank. We set the time at dawn so the light from the lighthouse can still be seen.”

            Did these students succeed in their undertaking?

Their teacher states, “The proof is in the result, the mural is beautiful and I think they were able to capture the essence of what the client wanted, it represents our school. We are all very happy with it."