Deck the windows

Published 9:30 pm Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School students Gavin Chevront, Torie Biggs, Kimberly Dooley, Julia Federico, Cameron Brooks and Saleta White and art teacher Hannah Nolen, pose in front of the holiday designs they painted on the windows of the Suffolk News-Herald office.

Brushes in hand, Suffolk elementary students arrived at several downtown businesses bright and early Tuesday, including the Suffolk News-Herald, for the school district’s annual window painting tradition.

Four banks, three eateries, two newspapers, a fitness studio and the district’s administration offices are all getting temporary new festive façades depicting Christmas trees, stuffed stockings, nutcracker soldiers and other holiday designs.

Schools involved are Creekside, Hillpoint, Kilby Shores, Mack Benn Jr. and Oakland elementary schools and King’s Fork Middle and King’s Fork and Lakeland high. The theme is “Holidays in Toyland.”

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Mack Benn Jr. art teacher Hannah Nolen and teacher’s assistant Mary Harris were overseeing the creative endeavors of a bunch of fourth- and fifth-grade talented art students at this newspaper’s Saratoga Street office.

“We practiced in class,” Nolen said. ‘We painted on the glass windows in the art room, then we all brainstormed about what designs they would want on the window.”

What the students decided to paint included Christmas trees, stockings presumably pinned to a mantelpiece, a Nutcracker soldier and Santa Claus.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get out in the community and show their talents that we see every day at school,” Nolen said. “And to give back during holiday time.”

Around the corner at The Plaid Turnip, Hillpoint art teacher Ed Lane and assistant Kim Martino had six fourth- and fifth-graders, all from the talented art class. “We usually get a different building each year,” Lane said.

His students were using black paint to outline their designs before using other colors to bring the scenes to life.

Students try to tailor designs to fit the identity of a given business, Turner said, and his were busy rendering plaid turnip decorations.

“We have turnips over the other side being dropped in as decorations for the trees,” he explained, “so we’re trying to incorporate the business in the design.”

BB&T Bank, Bank of America and Sun Trust were all painted Tuesday by elementary school students, while King’s Fork Middle kids are set to transform Wells Fargo on Thursday.

At Sun Trust, Oakland Elementary art teacher Jodie Linkous said that a Christmas tree with toys beneath and Nutcracker soldiers were the two main elements of her students’ design.

“They love it,” she said. “We have a really good time with it. I think it’s fun; it gets the kids out in the community and it gets their art work out in the community.”