SF elementary school students celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month by creating mosaic mural

Lyanne Melendez Image
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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The artwork is called "Together We Rise," and it shows a community lifting itself after the COVID pandemic.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Students at Sanchez Elementary in San Francisco are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month by creating a huge mosaic mural. The artwork is called "Together We Rise," and it shows a community lifting itself after the COVID pandemic.

"So you guys want to break some tile?" That's Ross Holzman with CreatePeaceProject.org. He's the artist directing the children. Holzman has helped produce 40 murals at public schools throughout San Francisco.

With a masonry hammer, three third-graders gently tapped at tiles, producing what sounded like musical notes.

Thousands of these pieces will eventually come together to create the mural.

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"We've been seeing kids breaking pieces that were whole, and so there's the whole kind of symbolic piece of what has been broken kind of coming back together to form something stronger and more beautiful together," said Ann Marin, the school's principal.

"We're in the middle of the fun part. We're on day five-of-eight working with the kids and so all 200-plus students from Sanchez elementary will participate in this project," Holzman said.

"It's kind of hard because there's still going to be gaps, like big gaps," said third-grader Michael Viera.

But their little hands quickly get a better understanding of spatial concepts.

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There will be 24 sheets of plywood, each with tiles forming part of the story of resilience.

"The rainbow, it's colorful and to me it means 'friendly,'" said Ariela Cruz, also a third-grader working on the mural.

"The image is going to depict some students helping each other up a mountain and taking off into flight to join a community of birds and insects that are native to Central America," Marin said.

The artist showed us a photo of what it will eventually look like, with a condor rising above it all.

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"I love that they added the Andean condor, because I'm from Ecuador, and it's on the flag of Ecuador, and it's really important to me," said student Oscar Marin.

The mosaic mural will go up against this wall, 25-feet tall by 40-feet wide, and it will strategically face the playground.

"I'm going to feel like, 'Wow! that's how it turned out and I was part of that,'" said a joyful Michael Viera.

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