Whimsical characters unveiled in Corey staircase

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MURAL UNVEILED. Visiting artist Bren Bataclan stands by the new mural he painted in a stairwell of the Carlisle School’s Corey Building. See article and more photos on page 18. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

A smiling pickle ball, a lovely mermaid on a piano, and a French horn with eyes: these and other images have turned a plain staircase in the Carlisle School’s Corey Building into a festive art gallery. The over 70 images in the mural were conceived by eighth grade students on May 13 during a session with Boston-based Artist in Residence Bren Bataclan, who later transferred the students’ drawings to the walls. 

Bataclan’s visit was made possible through a grant from the Carlisle Education Foundation (CEF). The Mosquito joined the first graders as they eagerly searched for the mermaid when the mural was unveiled on May 17.

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Carlisle School frst graders check out the details in the new mural in a stairwell of the Corey Building. The colorful design was painted by artist Bren Bataclan using ideas from eighth-grade students. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

The staircase leads downstairs from the auditorium and cafeteria level to the gyms and the site of the future performing arts studio. During the eighth grade assembly with Bataclan, students were asked to draw positive images depicting sports or music. He later explained that he asked them to draw quickly, focusing on “bigger ideas.” 

He wanted them to use their imagination but not be constrained by making the drawings perfect. Bataclan stressed to the students that they did not need to erase pencil marks, and he left his own pencil marks on the walls when he resketched the students’ drawings. “My style is not to erase lines,” he said later. 

He said the vividly colored paint is regular wall paint which can be scrubbed just as the walls are able to be. 

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 Artist Bren Bataclan greets frst grader Wesley Huntress during the unveiling of the new mural in the Corey Building. While most of the mural is in the stairwell, a portion is accessible in the gym area, which can be reached via the elevator. (Photo by Cynthia Sorn)

Bataclan, who works in many schools around the country, said that he likes to travel and and has left his paintings in parks and train stations around the world. He said he often leaves a note letting people know the painting is free, and attaches a supportive message. ∆