Artist Caroline Chao and recent Lynn Valley Elementary alumnae Eva, Ella and Josephine celebrate the Hastings Creek mural in the school library.
Hastings Creek holds a special place in the hearts of Lynn Valley Elementary students – even after they leave.
Eva and Josephine, now eighth graders at Argyle, returned to their old stomping grounds a few weeks ago for
a special mural unveiling.
Looking up at the Hastings Creek landscape splashed
across Lynn Valley's library wall, the friends reminisced.
“This must have been my first field trip in kindergarten.”
“I walked through there every day on my way to school.” “I remember walking
through there with my dog.”
The peaceful nature of Hastings Creek, across the street
from Lynn Valley Elementary, beckons the school community.
lessons are held at Hastings, for instance. Also, numerous families cross the
creek on the way to Lynn Valley, creating a connection between nature, home and
So, when last year’s Grade 7 class started to imagine a
legacy gift for their school, the creek came to mind.
Some of last year's Grade 7 students celebrate their legacy gift during an unveiling of the mural on Sept. 17.
The mural was commissioned
with help from Lynn Valley staff and parents. Fundraisers were held to make the
mural a reality, including Freezie Friday, a coffee bean sale at Christmastime
and a clothing drive for charity.
Chosen to bring their beloved creek to life inside the
library was local artist Caroline Chao, who spent 120 hours this past summer
meticulously painting every frond and ripple around the creek.
“The bridge is the focal point,” says Chao. It’s a very
peaceful, relaxing place to be.”
The mural was primarily painted in acrylic, using a 3D
effect that puts students at the edge of the stream and amongst the stones.
Lynn Valley principal Chanin Smyth is thrilled with the
landscape art, which was chosen to be in the library because it’s the heart of the school
– a place where Lynn Valley students and staff gather to learn and reflect.
“Due to the more urban placement of Lynn Valley school,
the mural brings the forest inside our learning community – for all members of
the community to enjoy,” says Smyth.
“This aligns with our First Peoples
Principles of Learning, in that it is focused on connectedness and a common
sense of place. Ultimately, bringing the natural world into our place of
learning supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community and the
Indigenous plants are featured in the mural, and the
bridge symbolizes progress, connections and overcoming obstacles.
Chao is also the artist behind the Carisbrooke Elementary
library mural, unveiled in June. She picked up a paintbrush, professionally, 10
years ago after a career in electrical engineering.
“In my heart, I’ve been an artist my whole life,” says