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RBR Graduate Studio Art Majors Gift a Legacy to The SOURCE

RBR Graduate Studio Art Majors Gift a Legacy to The SOURCE


the RBR studio art students’ senior gift to their school for The SOURCE  Every year, the Red Bank Regional (RBR) senior studio art majors in Claudia O’Connor’s Studio Art class create a beautiful mural to decorate the walls of their school.  Departments submit their request a year in advance to be the subject of this much-prized senior gift. This year, The SOURCE, RBR’s prolific School Based Student Services Program, was the lucky recipient. This represents the thirteenth senior art project that now beautifies the RBR building. The senior art majors were Jose Montealegre, Bradley Beach, Erin Kirkpatrick, Shrewsbury, Gabriella Vega, Union Beach, Jessica Auriemma, Little Silver, Aisling Carney and Daysi Perez both from Red Bank.

            “I assigned this as their end of year senior project, so the students get a real life-working experience as to what it is like to produce artwork for a client,” Claudia O’Connor explains.  “This was a particularly challenging assignment, because of the concept of what the SOURCE is and does, as opposed to symbolizing a subject like math or social studies (which is more straight-forward.)”

            In this respect, SOURCE Director Suzanne Keller Head Clinician Stacy Liss and Clinician Becky Stevenson met with the students to describe their vision for depicting the SOURCE in art.  Of course it was up to the artists to turn that vision into expression after much brainstorming and sketching of their ideas.  They met with their clients again to see if they were headed in the right direction and then made changes to incorporate feedback.

            Stacy Liss explains, “We discussed Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which describes an adolescent’s identity development, and we talked about bridging to the community among other things.”

            All elements were incorporated in the eight feet high by twelve feet wide mural which is set-off by giant hands enveloping a waterfall cascading under a bridge.  A diversity of people pass over that bridge past Maslow’s pyramid. To the left of the bridge are tall buildings and to the right a large tree with an entrance door leading to The SOURCE. A prominent Bienvenidos sign above the door indicates the bi-lingual services offered at the SOURCE. A helix with silhouetted people emanate from the buildings represent the connectivity of community partners that serve The SOURCE.

            Jose Montealegre, Bradley Beach, commented, “We all discussed that the hands symbolize that every person is welcome to the SOURCE no matter what their problems are.”

            Erin Kirkpatrick, Shrewsbury added, “The bridge over the waterfall shows people passing over a river of struggles, and coming out smiling past the pyramid.  The words in the waterfall, like stress, anxiety, sadness, anger, selfishness show everything we deal with but that at the end we can overcome. The stone and concrete of the bridge represent how strong the foundation is.”

            Gabriela Vega, Union Beach, created the subway-style sign located to the left of the bridge.  She states, “It indicates that the SOURCE can give you some direction to lead to things like growth, acceptance, love and relationships.” 

            On the last day of classes, the students were still busy with last minute touch-ups to the mural before formally presenting it to the SOURCE personnel.  Their clients were pleased.

            Suzanne Keller commented, ‘I love that the water is washing away their struggles and anxiety.”

            Stacy Liss observed, “The enveloping hands look like steps leading to the Source, and the people on the bridge are looking at the pyramid happy.”

            She added, “You did such an awesome job, it is exactly what we wanted.”

Students put finishing touches on their art gift to RBR