Lowell Elementary School, Phoenix, Arizona
40’ x 12’
acrylic on Stucco.
Tierra Buena is a special community mural growing from an ongoing project at the school and shows both the desert habitat inside the school as well as the role of the students to protect and care for their environment. From 1994-1997, the “Tierra Buena”, a Sonoran Desert habitat, was constructed as a teaching laboratory in the block-long, bleak central courtyard at the Lowell School. The work was funded by small grants from the Arizona Department of Game and Fish as well as private donations from individuals and corporations. The habitat included a fence, plants, water features, xeriscape, pond, and landscape. The students and the staff planted desert plants, developed the overall plan, and built a small pond that relates to the science curriculum and creates a total learning environment. And students participate in the creation and the maintenance of this outdoor learning environment.
For this project, Niki Glen and Kate McGalloway worked with students from Lowell Elementary School. The image shows children working together on the habitat. A large hummingbird hovers in space. And the mural gives a glimpse to what is inside the school habitat ie. butterfly garden, kids working together. Lowell School is a showpiece of desert landscaping- the campus is called “Tierra Buena” and demonstrates how an ordinary school is transformed by plants, pond, artwork. The mural also lets the outside world (pedestrians, travelers, motorists) know what is going on in the school by revealing images of the pond, trees, flowers, and beautiful landscape to the community outside of the school (since the habitat is within the school walls). The artists wanted to transform the environment of the low income students and community, and with creation of a community art project, the community has been transformed and uplifted.