It was an afternoon to celebrate under sunny October skies as Sherwood Elementary students and staff were joined by officials from the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation to formally dedicate and cut the ribbon for two new installations — a mural and a playground — both of which underscore the school’s particular dedication to inclusion and diversity.
“It started with an idea from our parent-student organization (PSO) to build a playground that would give everyone access to their abilities to play in a new way,” said Sherwood Principal Robyn Saltzman.
Saltzman went on to explain that while the PSO had raised significant funds for the project, once underway it soon became clear that these would not begin to meet the need. But thanks to the combined support and funding from the City of Edmonds, the Hazel Miller Foundation and the Edmonds School District capital projects team, the playground project was able to move to completion.
“During the playground design process, the diversity, equity and inclusion community at Sherwood began collaborating on extending this theme with a mural project on the school’s blank front wall,” Saltzman added. “The idea was created through many voices, thoughts and ideas and implemented with the help of Tanya Johnson and her seniors at the Edmonds-Woodway High School art department, who pulled these ideas together into a final design, and the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation, who helped with the funding.”
Many ideas for the mural came from Sherwood students themselves, who were asked to share their thoughts and ideas about what they value about the school, with the aim that these words would become part of the final mural. Now embodied in the final design, words like “belonging”, “fun”, “persistence”, “thoughtful” and “awesome” are subtly woven into the mural’s green mountains. leaving lasting messages directly from Sherwood students to future generations and all who view the work.
Saltzman pointed out that the EWHS students who participated in the project were all former Sherwood students who had planned to work on the mural itself this spring. But Mother Nature had other plans: The rainy spring delayed the project, and by the time the weather improved the senior students had graduated.
That’s when Sherwood families and community members stepped in, picked up ladders and paint brushes, and completed the mural.
“The mural would not have been complete without these dedicated folks stepping up to help,” concluded Saltzman. “I’m so proud of the Sherwood community.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel