PMS eighth graders unveil mural created in collaboration with Connecticut artist


Every year, the outgoing Pelham Middle School eighth grade class creates an art piece to be hung in the hallway to commemorate that class’s time at PMS. Each art piece is created by every student in that grade and put together by the 8th grade mural committee, led by art teachers Rebecca Schwarz and Lori Amer.

The PMS class of 2023 unveiled their mural on Monday in the PMS lobby. This year’s mural is unique, as the Pelham Education Foundation funded an artist residency as a part of the mural. Connecticut-based artist Rashmi Talpade has created numerous pieces with photography collages, and helped the students in creating their mural.

“I did more instructing rather than guide them hands on,” said Talpade. “I did a lot of instruction, slide shows, and a couple of Zoom calls and sat the entire day with two different classes. This school is really unique, you can see the student body is very independent, they are very self sufficient and can take instructions and turn it into practical work.”

The finished mural hangs on a wall in the Pelham Middle School lobby.

Schwarz discovered Talpade’s artwork at the New Britain Museum of American Art. Schwarz contacted Talpade, who has a history of working with schools on art projects, in hopes of collaborating with her on the eighth grade mural project.  The project started in February when each student was told to take ten pictures of iconic Pelham landmarks as a homework assignment and ended in May with the mural installed.

“A lot of them [the photos] are iconic places in Pelham but some of them are just regular houses, trees, and stop signs,” said eighth grader and mural committee member Courtney Gilmartin.

The eighth grade mural project is a tradition that students look forward to during their middle school years. The project’s goal is to bring the graduating class together to create a permanent piece that future classes will look up at as they walk through the middle school hallways.

“The eighth grade mural committee also named the mural,” said Schwarz. “It’s called ‘Picture Perfect Pelham’ so they really took a leadership role. But really it was the entire eighth grade class that created this project.”