Artwork honours inaugural class at Birchwood Elementary School

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WATCH: Birchwood Elementary School in St-Lazare is marking its seventh anniversary with a special art project created by its very own artist-in-residence. As Global's Phil Carpenter reports, the school received a grant to host Madeleine Turgeon and her work with the students will honour the inaugural class that is about to graduate – May 16, 2018

Birchwood Elementary School in Saint-Lazare is marking its seventh anniversary this year, and the whole school is pitching in on an art project to celebrate.

It will honour the inaugural kindergarten class who are now about to graduate from Grade 6.

The school received a grant to complete the project and arts teacher Erin Wainwright says it’s the biggest art project the school has ever done.

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“We heard that there’d been a new program by the Ministry of Education that was called School Hosts An Artist,” she explains. “It’s part of the Culture in Schools program.”

So they’re hosting local artist Madeleine Turgeon who figured out how to do the project after being approached by Wainwright.

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“My residency is 10 weeks in the school,” says Turgeon. “Full time, every day,” she laughs.

The main part of the project will be a giant installation that will be mounted on the outside of the building, measuring about 40-feet tall by 23-feet wide. One part will represent the birch trees that surround the school.

There’ll also be a giant empty bird’s nest made from recycled hula hoops and wire, symbolizing the departure of the graduating students.

“It’s very complicated,” Wainwright laughs.

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The whole school is taking part.

“Three hundred and sixty-eight children, parents, teachers, and we also invited grandparents,” says Wainwright.

Some graduating students like 12-year-old Jake Guitard-Lacasse say, it’s something special.

“You’ve been here since kindergarten, the first class to be here since kindergarten up to Grade 6,” he tells Global News. “And the whole school is doing something for you? It feels amazing!”

The entire project should be completed by next week and unveiled June 15.

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