Watershed Wall Signs Updated - #Thank You Art Teachers

June 19, 2016

WatershedWall2016The Watershed Wall, a clay tile mural created in 2010 by students of the Ithaca City School District as a result of a public art collaboration between the City of Ithaca and the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) art teachers, has new signage. This project was facilitated by the Fine Arts Booster Group, an affiliate of the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI), and supported by many community organizations. The new mural signs include legends that indicate the sections made by each school.


Visit the wall, located near Cinemapolis in the alley behind the Commons, and send thanks to Ithaca City School District’s (ICSD) art teachers. Tweet a picture of yourself #ThankYouIthacaArtTeachers @FABG or send an email to president@fabgithaca.org.


This large project is a permanent celebration of the creativity of the ICSD visual art teachers and their dedication to arts education. The 55 foot mural design represents an aerial view of the creeks feeding Cayuga Lake, Ithaca’s watershed. The clay tiles represent land and the lake rocks represent water, celebrating art and nature. This design was created by district art teachers with inclusive and developmentally appropriate educational goals in mind.


Students from ten schools from all grade levels worked on the clay tiles in their art classes. Each school was assigned a “land mass” or section and students worked collaboratively to make their imprints in clay. Students made their textural impressions using a combination of natural objects and other items that represent their heritage and experiences. After the class imprinting collaboration, the sections were cut into tiles and kiln-fired, stained and fired again. Once a school section was finished, the tiles were brought to a central location, assembled and affixed to panels. These panels were made according to City of Ithaca engineer’s specifications to ensure structural support and outdoor viability.


The assembly process engaged community volunteers and students and coordinating artist Annemarie Zwack. Belle Sherman Elementary School’s art room became the designated assembly center due to the room size and storage space. Annemarie Zwack became an “artist in residence” during this period, enabling Belle Sherman students the additional benefit of observing assembly work as a part of their art classes.


The project was unveiled on June 4, 2010 with a ribbon cutting ceremony led my Mayor Carolyn Peterson. The updated signs now include a map or legend of each school’s section.


The Fine Arts Booster Group (FABG), an affiliate of IPEI, works in partnership with the Ithaca City School District to advocate for, support and celebrate all the arts for all the kids. For more information about the boosters, go to www.fabgithaca.org


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