Each spring, Stevenson Elementary School's All Arts Day gives students a full day to interact and collaborate with artists, musicians and dancers.

A new project will extend that experience throughout the year.

The Grandview Heights Column Project kicked off May 9-12 with Columbus writer Amy Greenberg serving as artist-in-residence. Greenberg has worked as an artist in schools for the Greater Columbus Arts Council since 1992 and the Ohio Arts Council since 1997.

Five columns have been installed on Stevenson's front lawn; every few months, an artist will visit the school and collaborate with students to create an art installation incorporating the columns.

On May 12, the Column Project was launched with a ceremony celebrating the first installation students helped to create.

Last week, Greenberg interacted with students and led them in a project in which the students wrote 21st-century mantras about what they wish for humanity and the world.

The statements were written on ribbons that were tied to bicycle wheels, which were hoisted to the top of the columns.

"When the wind blows, the ribbons with the students' mantras will blow and rise up into the air," said Henrietta Cartwright, coordinator of the Column Project.

"It's almost like their wishes are being sent up to the heavens," she said.

The mission of the Column Project is to unite the Grandview Heights City School District and the community through art, Cartwright said.

"When you place art in public places, it's a form of collective community expression," she said.

"I'm hoping people walking by the school will take a moment to look at the art installation and reflect on what it means to them," Cartwright said.

The Column Project is truly a community project, she said.

"The city donated the columns; the Grandview Heights/Marble Cliff Education Foundation supported our project with a grant; the Green floral studio donated the ribbons; and the fire department (participated) in the opening ceremony," Cartwright said. "It's more than just a school project."

As a way to spark interest among students and the community about the Column Project, graffiti art "mysteriously" appeared near the five columns overnight April 30 and May 1.

"Students had no idea this was going to happen," Cartwright said.

"We called the police to let them know this would be happening overnight -- you know, 'no need to arrest anyone,' " she said.

When students arrived for school May 1, they were surprised to find the graffiti installation sporting the words "Living Off Knowledge."

The piece was created by Columbus graffiti artist Justin Withrow, who goes by the name "Ketchup."

Withrow has participated the last two years in All Arts Day. In 2016, he spray-painted a design in the parking area used by parents on Hilo Lane that students filled in with color using paint rollers and brushes. At last month's event, he led students in a project in which they added their own graffiti designs to canvasses that have been hung in the school's stairwells.

"The amazing thing is, the students have become familiar with Ketchup's style," Cartwright said. "They weren't told anything about the graffiti, but a lot of them immediately recognized that it was by Ketchup."

The morning of May 1 was rainy, but the next day, Cartwright inconspicuously observed parents as they dropped their children off at school.

"I could see that almost every parent was spending time talking about the graffiti project with their child, asking them what it meant and what they thought about it," she said. "It was wonderful to see."

Withrow chose to use the words "Living Off Knowledge" as a message to students about the power of learning, Cartwright said.

He used catering film wrap to apply the spray paint.

"It's commonly used in a lot of areas, but not here in Columbus," Cartwright said. "You use it so your graffiti doesn't damage the property.

"One of the things we wanted students and the community to think about as they viewed his graffiti project was what is the line between art and vandalism," she said.

Cartwright is a native of London, England, and is an art dealer operating out of her home country, to which she returns each year for art shows.

She and her husband, Wojciech Pryszczewski, moved to Grandview two years ago when his work brought them to central Ohio.

"We didn't know where we were going to move, but we were walking around Grandview one day and saw the elementary school," Cartwright said. "We walked up unannounced and knocked on the door and (Principal Angela Ullum) welcomed us in and took us on an extensive tour of the school," she said. "We thought, 'this must be a wonderful school and a wonderful community,' so we decided to move here.

"I can't think of any other community I've ever been in that would have been so welcoming and supportive of the kind of project we're doing with the Column Project," Cartwright said.

The bicycle wheels and mantras will stay put through the end of the school year, she said.

The next installation and student/artist collaboration will take place in the fall.

For more information about the Grandview Heights Column Project, visit 5columns.org.

Donations may made through the website toward artists and supplies for future projects, Cartwright said.

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