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Love Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

WJCC High Schools Leave A Lasting Message Of Unity

The+large%2C+upside+down+letter+%27V%27+resides+by+the+Lafayette+High+School+bus+loop%2C+surprising+students+as+they+make+their+way+to+and+from+the+busses.
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Love Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes

The large, upside down letter 'V' resides by the Lafayette High School bus loop, surprising students as they make their way to and from the busses.

The large, upside down letter 'V' resides by the Lafayette High School bus loop, surprising students as they make their way to and from the busses.

Lazuli Cristol

The large, upside down letter 'V' resides by the Lafayette High School bus loop, surprising students as they make their way to and from the busses.

Lazuli Cristol

Lazuli Cristol

The large, upside down letter 'V' resides by the Lafayette High School bus loop, surprising students as they make their way to and from the busses.

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As Lafayette students walk to the buses at the end of the day, many of them stare at the strange, enormous, upside down letter ‘V’ near the exit doors. Covered in neon-painted geometric shapes, the ‘V’ is part of a community project involving all of the high schools in the Williamsburg-James City County district. The Greater Williamsburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Alliance celebrates its 80th anniversary through a ‘LOVE’ project that involves Lafayette, Jamestown, Warhill, and Bruton students painting each of the four letters in the word ‘LOVE’.

“A few months ago, the letters were removed from the Newport News Airport and distributed to WJCC high schools with the intention to decorate each letter with things we love about Williamsburg,” said Ms. Peet, an art teacher at Lafayette High School. “We chose to display the people associated with Williamsburg.”  Ms. Peet has been in contact with a staff member at Warhill, Barbara Stevenson, who informed us that their theme for the letter ‘E’ is Williamsburg food. 

Lazuli Cristol
Students spray golden paint to add a bling factor. The shimmering golden paint will help the letters attract attention.

In order to display these historical figures, Ms. Peet and her students use a printmaking technique which helps transfer a printed image from paper onto the wooden ‘V’. Because of the unique shape of the letter ‘V’, the images must be turned upside down before being applied. Chloe Swan, Lazuli Cristol, and other Lafayette seniors that are a part of the Nation Art Honor Society help Ms. Peet after school a few times a week. The students use a ladder to reach the top of the letter because it stands approximately ten feet tall. Although the ‘V’ is tall and difficult to manipulate, the students don’t let any obstacles interfere with their determination to create art. 

“I’ve spent about for 8 or 9 hours working on the letter,” said Chloe Swan. Chloe plans to attend Mary Washington next year and major in a top involving art. “I’ll definitely feel accomplished and proud when the whole project is finished.”

The students began painting the letter with Gesso, a base paint to prime the wooden surface of the letter. Then, the students taped painter’s tape in geometric shapes and painted the surface with neon yellow, blue, green, orange, and pink. Once the tape was removed and the neon shapes were revealed, a golden paint was sprayed to add shimmer to the wood.

Lazuil Cristol
Neon paint covers the inside of the letter ‘V’, making it more eye catching to those nearby.

As the students worked on the spray paint, Mrs. Peet printed images of influential people associated with Williamsburg. Some of the featured faces are William and Mary alumni, including Jon Stewart, Sandra Day O’Connor, and Glenn Close. Other important figures are Georgia O’Keefe, who lived in Williamsburg with her family for some time, and Clara Byrd Baker, who was an educator, civil rights activist, and the first woman to vote in Williamsburg. A lesser known face that will appear on the letter is Benming Zhang, the second William and Mary student and first Asian-American elected to the City Council in Williamsburg. After gathering images of those faces, Pocahontas, and many more powerful figures, the students will paste the ink from the paper onto the letter. Using a process involving Gum Arabic to prepare the ink for transfer, the students must work with their hands in order to cover the images fully.

Once there is a plan for where each face will appear on the wood, the students will transfer the images, upside down, in order to complete the letter. As this process is finished, the letters from Lafayette will be unified with the rest of the word ‘LOVE’. Each school will be finished with their letters by the end of March, but the date for the completion of the final project is yet to be determined. Once the letters are unified, students and community members can find the word ‘LOVE’ at the Williamsburg Visitors Center.

Courtesy of Carter Johnson
Lafayette students Lazuli Cristol (left) and Chloe Swan prepare images to be pasted onto the letter V.

 

To read more about this lovely community project, click here to access an article in the Virginia Gazette.

 

 

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Love Comes in Many Shapes and Sizes