By Cindy Zomar, Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Mayor Arthur Vigeant recently recognized local students for their artistic contributions to the city’s Electrical Box Project. Eight decorated electrical boxes have been installed cross the city since the project launched in 2018 to highlight talent within the community.
Boston artist Franklin Marval of Cyanta Studios scanned individual pieces to create an adhesive wrap to adhere to city-owned electrical boxes in strategic locations. At this time, three of the boxes reflect the artwork of Marlborough students: “Cow” by Alyssa O’Leary sits at the corner of Pleasant and Elm streets; “Owls” by Khazana Aziz Walter and Parker White, is at the intersection of Union and Bolton streets; and “Sunflowers” by Sharonn Lopez, is across from the Target on Donald Lynch Boulevard.
The three designs were chosen from the Marlborough Public Schools’ K-12 permanent art collection.
“My predecessors, Helen Downey and Susan Leavey, had the brilliant idea to form a permanent collection of student artwork, and it came to fruition in 2008,” explained Julie Baker, the K-12 supervisor of visual arts in the district. “The GFWC Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club immediately jumped on board and donated funds for a really good digital camera and a scanner so we can get high resolution files of the artwork.”
The district does not keep the original pieces, but instead obtains permission from the students and families to reproduce the artwork.
“Just keeping digital files of the pieces was another brilliant idea because with well over 100 pieces now, I don’t know where we could possibly house the originals,” Baker said. “And now, when artwork is needed, such as for the superintendent’s annual report, the report for NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges), or events within the city, we just go to the files and choose something. We have everything documented by artist, school and year.”
Every school in the district, as well as the District Education Center, has framed prints on display from the collection. Each year, one work of art is chosen to represent each of the three elementary schools, two from the 1LT Charles W. Whitcomb Middle School, and the rest from each of the various high school art classes.
“We are looking for art that adds variety to the collection and helps to showcase the quality of work done in the district,” added Baker.
Art teachers recommend pieces and then they look for staff feedback. The criteria include creativity, effort, detail, and if it is a good example of the particular medium or assignment.
“There is a city-wide art show traditionally in early April, so we like to have decisions made for the current year’s choices for the permanent collection before then so that they can be highlighted and celebrated with the artists and their families,” Baker noted.