Students at South Street Elementary School in Newark, New Jersey are both artists and conservationists. After collecting over 5,000 bottle caps in their local community, the students arranged the caps into an eco-friendly 8-foot by 12-foot rendition of Vincent van Gogh’s famed Starry Night. The project, currently at The Newark Museum, was officially completed in June 2012 and was designed by South Street’s teachers as a way for students to get hands-on knowledge about conservation and to encourage them to become responsible global citizens.
“This work represents the success that can be achieved when the people in a community come together to help support their schools. We are so thrilled that the Newark Museum has given us the opportunity to showcase the beautiful mural that was created in Newark’s South Street Elementary School,” said Tatiana Benus, one of the teachers who spearheaded the project.
With the help of parents, local store owners and individuals, students were able to collect the multi-colored bottle caps to create the mural. Once they completed their collection, the younger students began to sort the bottle caps by color and size. Other students assisted the teachers in painting three large sheets of plywood that were donated by a teacher’s family member.
An image of van Gogh’s painting was then projected onto the plywood using an overhead projector and students blocked out the areas that needed to be filled with color. The assorted bottle caps were attached using a drill and screws donated by a local Home Depot store. During the creation of the mural the students also learned about the artist Vincent van Gogh, wrote biographies about his life and created poems about his paintings.
Via Newark Museum