Symmes Junior High School

Aylmer, Québec


Collaborative Mural Painting - Marcio Melo

 As part of the Culture in Education Partnership - Artists in Schools Program of the Quebec Ministry of Culture and Communications, Marcio Melo guided a mural workshop at Symmes Junior High School in Aylmer, Quebec. This program brings artists into the schools to share their artistic activities with young people. This page outlines the project at Symmes Junior High School.

The workshop plans and executes a monumental collaborative painting (mural) over three days. The scale of a mural fosters great freedom of expression and artistic accomplishment within the context of cooperation and compromise.

Prior to my arrival, the theme is decided according to local interests. Students research elements relating to the theme.

The first day looks at collaboration (boundaries - keeping or crossing them) and painting (balance, colour, composition), especially as it relates to monumental works (seen from a distance). Drawing exercises on a small scale practice collaboration. Exercises are analyzed. The mural is prepared.

The second day the mural is painted. Discussion continues on the elements of painting, collaboration and introduces the art of compromise (individual versus group identity).

The third day we discuss, "Is it finished?". After analysis of the elements of a monument, the group decides, and finishes if necessary.


Symmes Junior High School, Aylmer, Quebec (grades 7-8)

  This project was very interesting. Sylvia Bretzloff (the art teacher involved) had prepared the students very well and they focused on the theme of "Trees". Once I arrived, the theme evolved and became something of a more personal nature. In my opinion, the trees in the final mural are equal to symbolic self portraits. 

It inspired me to write on the mural, "I see you are growing into a beautiful future".

Marcio Melo, February 2001


The First Day - Drawing Collaboration


Colour Exercises






    The Second Day - Working on the Mural



The Third Day - The Finished Mural


And once they got started it was hard to stop -

Marcio Melo (artist)  and Sylvia Bretzloff (Symmes Junior High School art teacher)