WILMINGTON, MA — Be kind.
That’s the simple, yet powerful message artist Rob Surette was trying to convey with his latest project, which involved students from Wilmington Public Schools and Shawsheen Tech.
“I spent three joy-filled days with over 100 super kids from grades 4-12 in Wilmington from the Shawsheen Valley Technical High School, Wilmington West CARES program, and the Wilmington Middle School,” said artist Rob Surette. “They were among my favorite kids ever…. They all has so much enthusiasm and respect for this project and they soaked up my positive messages like sponges.”
Wilmington students were able to participate in Surette’s artist-in-residence program thanks to the efforts of Shawsheen Tech Guidance Counselor Angela Caira and West CARES Site Coordinator Kerin Osgood. The two formed a partnership six years ago where Shawsheen Tech Orientation Leaders help educate Wilmington’s youth on bullying prevention and mental health.
“The project’s mission was to create a super eye-catching masterpiece together, which would stop people in their tracks and deliver the powerful message — “Be Kind,” which Ellen Degeneres is known for saying all the time,” explained Surette.
“Ellen exemplifies the significance of being kind,” added Angela Caira. “She closes out her show every afternoon by reminding viewers to be kind to everyone… What better person to incorporate into our message of being kind?”
The masterpiece, which will soon be on display at Wilmington Middle School, consists of 14,768 crayons and weights nearly 200 pounds. Surette spent more than 100 hours completing the project after students began working on it. Students were unaware of what the finish product looked like until the unveiling ceremony on Tuesday, May 28.
(NOTE: The cover photo is from the Wilmington CARES Facebook page.)
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