GMG Elementary gets art upgrade

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS – GMG Elementary Principal Chris Frimml, left, stands with artist, bus driver and paraeducator Peggy Stonewall in front of a mural of a barn the latter painted in the school’s cafeteria.

GREEN MOUNTAIN — Over the years, Peggy Stonewall has played a lot of roles at Green Mountain-Garwin Elementary School, from bus driver to paraeducator. Now, she has taken on the role of resident artist.

Stonewall got to work this summer painting a voluminous amount of pictures and words on the walls and ceilings throughout the school building. She said she gets an idea, researches it, then does her best to make quality paintings.

“I do homework and then just come in here,” Stonewall said. “I’ve always done art at home, on the side.”

Her work is evident upon walking into the building, where the walls around the front office have been painted to resemble a school bus and a multi-colored mural greets visitors. On the ceiling, a tree depicting the various Leader in Me school improvement program goals sets a cultural tone for the building.

Elementary Principal Chris Frimml also said much of the art, like the tree on the entranceway ceiling, is intertwined with content from the Leader in Me program. He said the art is meant to back up the culture set by school staff.

T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS – Encouraging messaging and Leader in Me program goals decorate the elementary hallways.

“We believe everyone has genius, everyone has talent,” Frimml said. “Yes, academics are important, but we’re focused on developing the whole child.”

Stonewall said she started by getting permission to make small paintings on windows near the building entrance. Frimml took notice and asked if she would paint a large barn mural in the cafeteria. Since then, Stonewall has expanded the art throughout the building.

Along with the murals and entrance art, encouraging messages are painted in hallways and teachers’ classrooms have a children’s book cover painted outside their doors. One depicts the “Charlotte’s Web” book cover, for instance.

Frimml said the art makes the school building feel more like an elementary school than it used to. Stonewall agreed, saying the art gives the building a “more colorful and more friendly” feeling.


T-R PHOTO BY ADAM SODDERS – The front office was transformed into a school bus thanks to Stonewall’s artistic skills.

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