By Amy Reynolds, Communications Specialist This article appeared in the Fall 2017 issue of the Tower Hill Bulletin
Jack Chesman ‘25
and Gavin Felix ‘25
(pictured above) thought the Dining Room walls were too plain—“endless wallpaper,” as Chesman said, with nothing but a few tiles to add interest to the space. It needed more color, they thought, and they had an idea.
During the 2015-2016 school year, Chesman and Felix’s third-grade art class had been working on abstract painting, and they thought the projects would be the perfect addition to the unadorned Dining Room walls.
“The abstracts were colorful, and that’s what we wanted: to make the cafeteria more colorful,” Felix said.
The two set off on an entrepreneurial pursuit to add a permanent art display in the Dining Room. With the support of art teacher Rowena Macleod, Chesman and Felix took their idea to Head of School Bessie Speers, who loved the concept. From there, the boys organized a bake sale in order to raise the $500 needed to reproduce the paintings on larger, durable canvases. A few months later, they saw their vision come to life as they hung up finished pieces on the walls with Macleod and their parents.
“People really enjoyed the added color, and it perked the place up,” Macleod said. “Certain people have really been drawn to certain images, and others have been drawn to other images. Abstract is not for everybody, but I think in this case, they’re all enjoyable to look at.”
The project served a bigger purpose than just beautifying the Dining Room: Chesman and Felix gained entrepreneurial skills.
“These boys are self-starters. They took the project into their own hands, and I just let them go with it,” Macleod said. “They could see their idea happening from the beginning, then they actually saw it come to fruition and now they get to see it every day. It’s probably a little reminder that adults are happy to work with them, and in today’s world, entrepreneurial skills are more needed than ever.”
Chesman said he’d never pursued a project like this before, and he was happy to learn how much he could accomplish, even at just 9 years old. He and Felix said they hope the artwork is still hanging on the walls when they come back to visit as alumni.
“In 10 years, I think we’re going to look at them and think, ‘3rd Grade was an amazing year. We had such great friends, and we had a great time,’” Chesman said.