A student-created mural highlighting the impact of human activity on coral reef life was installed Friday at the Sunny Isle Shopping Center.
Art students from the St. Croix Educational Complex created the two-panel mural during the 2010-11 school year. It is based on the St. Croix Environmental Association’s theme, "The Reef Is Closer than You Think," according to a news release from Lynnea Roberts, SEA education coordinator.
The mural is part of a broad-scale effort to increase environmental literacy and foster public awareness and action in coral reef conservation, Roberts wrote.
Teachers who worked with students on the project included Anne Marie Gibbs, Dwydale Dharia and Gregory Famucol from St. Croix Educational Complex. Students involved included members of the Coral Conservation Corps afterschool club, general biology and art classes, and volunteers within the school.
According to Roberts, students wanted to display the artwork in the 2011 Crucian Christmas Festival parade and built a structure that allowed it to be wheeled down the road. Once that phase of the project was completed, students from Famucol’s class coated the mural with a protective finish and began planning to install it in a high visibility area.
Gallows Bay Hardware provided transportation for the mural from Complex to Sunny Isles, Roberts said. A local construction company provided scaffolding and a crew to install the artwork Friday.
The bright blue mural’s two panels can be seen on the east wall of the Payless Shoe building, visible from Centerline Road.
"We hope the mural will be enjoyed by many and be a reminder of the interconnectedness of human actions and the health of our environment," Roberts said.
Funding and assistance for the project came from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, St. Croix Educational Complex High School, the University of the Virgin Islands Sea Grant Marine Outreach Program and the St. Croix Environmental Association.