Aug 28, 2015

Portraits on Pickets


Is it a fence? Is it a mural?

What is the story behind all those painted pickets recently installed on the fence at Armstrong Elementary School? I'm glad you asked...


Just before the end of the previous school year, the Hampton Commission on the Arts awarded Armstrong Elementary School a $1,000 grant to complete a unique and creative art project developed by award-winning Armstrong Elementary teacher, Nancy Eason.

Each Armstrong Elementary student was asked to paint their self-portrait on a wooden picket.

The pickets were arranged by grade: smallest pickets for kindergarten, tallest for 5th grade. Students were allowed to paint representations of what they were wearing the day they created the artwork, or whatever they thought best represented their personality. I think you’ll agree the results of their creativity are inspiring. Click here to see more picket self-portraits, do you recognize anyone?


Self-Portrait of Aaiden Kirkland, rising first-grader, on right.


I recently stopped by to view all 311 pickets and met Alicia Durrah, the mother of young artist Aaiden Kirkland, she was admiring her son’s painted picket.

“I remember the day he was painting his picket,” Ms. Durrah recalled, “I asked him if he was going to paint himself wearing his eyeglasses. He told me, ‘No, Mom, I'm painting myself without the glasses.’ ” 

Ms. Durrah paused and looked at her son’s portrait, “In my opinion, this project is the best use of $1000 I’ve ever seen.”


Alicia Durrah stands beside the self-portrait created by her son, Aaiden Kirkland.

The pickets will remain on display through the 2015/16 school year.