Wilson facelift from Rainforest to be dedicated
Dan Evers, director of the Rainforest Art Project, cleans the tiles of a student project Rainforest directed and will have dedicated Saturday. The project was created on the facade of Wilson Junior High School. (RICHARD MONTENEGRO BROWN PHOTO)
The stunning golden-glass backgrounds of the matching bas relief mosaic Indian heads flanking the entrance of Wilson Junior High School are eye-catchers.
The Wilson Warrior mascots of the El Centro school are so visually arresting, they almost overpower the kiln-fired tiles lining the columns beneath them that tell the tale of the junior high’s vaunted music program; likewise, the cut-granite name of the school across the very top of the campus’ lobby.
These were all pieces of art created by Wilson students and artists with the Rainforest Art Project over the past year-plus.
“When kids are an active part of their community or their school, not only are they enriched but they can give back to their community,” Robert Pletka, El Centro Elementary School superintendent, said. “Our students have helped to make this school a better place.”
On Saturday, the front entrance to the school will be dedicated, with a few words from school district and city dignitaries and Rainforest founder Dan Evers.
Wilson Principal Matt Phillips sees Saturday as being a testament to “the power of beauty.”
Already known for its music program, Phillips said with the dedication and an open house at the Rainforest workshop in the rear of the campus, Wilson will be known as a center for excellence in the visual arts as well.
“Coming through these doors, it’s symbolic of a rebirth of this school,” Phillips said of significance of the work to the facade.
Rainforest Art Project took over the former wood shop near the rear of the campus more than a year ago as Evers set about bringing public art to El Centro Elementary schools through an afterschool program. This past fall, El Centro Elementary became the first district to include Rainforest as a class in its daytime curriculum.
“The community needs to know about this,” Evers said. “This is the legitimate transformation of a community through public art.”
Rainforest is just one part of a banner day for Wilson, which will also have its annual powder puff football game between the seventh- and eighth-grade girls and a carne asada barbecue fundraiser.
The whole show kicks off with the dedication at 10:30 a.m., where in addition to Evers as the keynote speaker, Pletka, district board member Michael Minnix and El Centro Mayor Sedalia Sanders will all speak.
At 11:15 a.m. the Wilson band will play, followed by a performance from the Wilson orchestra at 11:45 a.m. and a routine from the school’s tall flags team.
The football game will get under way at 12:30 p.m.
If you go
When — 10:30 a.m. Saturday
Where — Wilson Junior High School, 600 S. Wilson Ave., El Centro
What — Dedication of Rainforest Art Project, annual powder puff game and barbecue fundraiser