SSES Students Make Their Mark on the City

“The City is our School” is the motto that St. Stephen’s Episcopal School lives by each day. Our students not only enrich their learning with city partners, they strive to become well-rounded citizens who also contribute to their community. Through a collaboration with Sprocket Mural Works, our students are literally making their mark on Harrisburg. 


In 2017, Sprocket Mural Works launched their very first mural festival which resulted in 18 new murals painted throughout the city within a single week. SSES students were invited to join muralist James Dunn on the city’s river walk to paint a section of his mural. James Dunn is no stranger to helping students exercise their creative muscles. He worked as a Lead Teaching Artist with Mural Arts Philadelphia for five years and worked with students to add more public art projects to the city.


“Organizing paint days are a really simple way to get community members involved and seeing the students from St. Stephens take charge and help explain directions to their classmates was a particularly awesome part of the project,” Dunn said. “I think allowing the students and other community members to help paint not only gets them involved in learning about the meaning behind the mural and mural making process, but it also instills a sense of pride and accomplishment that lets them contribute to their surroundings as well.” 


 Our students donned aprons and took up paintbrushes to help decorate the longest of the five mural walls, which features different fish species found in the Susquehanna River. The two paint days he oversaw with St. Stephen’s students were a way to involve the kids in the community’s effort to bring color and beauty to the many blank canvases around the city. 


Students will once again be a part of the public artwork this year during the 2019 HBG Mural Fest. Photographer Elena Jasic took photos of several students that will be used as inspiration for one of this year’s murals. “That’s the awesome thing about public art, it lives within the community” Dunn stated. The mural will not only be located in the heart of our city but will be inspired the very children who go to school and learn in that very location. 


Sprocket Mural Works will host a variety of events over the course of the festival, which promises ten new murals in the ten day period. This “focused surge of city beautification” as Sprocket calls it will kick off on August 30 and culminate in a block party in front of the state capitol on September 8. SSES will have an activity table at the final block party, so be sure to stop by to celebrate the city’s new artwork and create some of your own! Find more information about Sprocket Mural Works and the 2019 HBG Mural Fest on their website, and see more of James Dunn’s work on his website and on instagram. SSES is excited to continue to make a mark on the city that is a part of their school.


Photos courtesy of Justin Ward at his website.

Juliet Pawelski