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Justice Page Middle School to Celebrate Installation of Student Murals

On Friday, September 6, 2019, students, staff, families and community members will celebrate the installation of four murals created by Justice Page Middle School students last year that now adorn the 49th and 50th Street entrances to the building.

The celebration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with an event called “Chalk the Walk” in which community members are invited to write positive messages lining the JPS sidewalks to welcome students as they enter school.   The murals presentations will begin at nine and will include student artists talking about their experiences.

Students in teacher Elissa Cedarleaf Dahl’s four murals classes began the project last year by learning about muralism, and doing collaborative art activities.  They worked with artist-in-residence Greta McClain of GoodSpace Murals to create pattern collages as a way to visually represent all the cultures of JPS students.  They created different drawings that could exist to represent the community and they photographed themselves in scenes representing what middle schoolers do.  They then combined these elements to create the outlines of the four murals.

Cedarleaf-Dahl says the murals are “a way to proclaim our new identity, our new name, and really show who we are and who Justice Page School is.”

Painting became a collaborative effort between students in the murals classes, other students at the school, and over 100 community members who joined in during special paint events.  The murals were painted in 5’ x 5’ sections in the classroom, then later mounted in full form on the building.  Says Cedarleaf-Dahl, “The murals are going to end up above the ground, but are painted at a level in which everyone can participate.”

School namesake Justice Alan Page was also part of the process.  An art aficionado, Page gave feedback on the murals, and helped paint.  Careful observers will spot a stargazer lily in one mural, a tribute to Page’s late wife, Diane, who was intimately involved with the JPS community before her death in 2018.  Page’s image is depicted twice in the murals, once showing off his JPS t-shirt on his first day with students; the second showing Page with his Medal of Freedom.

Said Page of the murals, “You look at them and the first thing I see is the hopefulness for the future.  The students are so full of life and energy and a sense of who they are, where they come from, but also a sense of where they aspire to be.”

JPS Principal Erin Rathke is excited to welcome students and families on September 6 to celebrate the murals.  Says Rathke, “These murals represent student voice and arts integration at its finest.  The legacy of Alan and Diane Page will be on this building and in our community for the next hundred years.”

Justice Page School would like to thank our funding supporters for these murals, including the Tangletown Neighborhood Association, a Minnesota Education Leadership Award grant, donations made to the Rename Ramsey account, and consultation with GoodSpace Murals.