Arts and Entertainment

Deck the hallways!

By Denebola
Published: September 2007
By Ally Bernstein

By now, it is likely that you’ve noticed that the hallway near the library has changed considerably. What was once a simple,non-descript wall, a bevy of smiling creatures have appeared. This colorful addition to Newton South is the work of artist Bren Bataclan of the Smile Boston Project and husband to South history teacher Bob Parlin.
The Smile Boston Project, which Bataclan began in 2003, is intended to decorate and enliven public places in the city. Bataclan’s playful paintings have adorned walls in homes across Boston and beyond for four years, and he has received much positive feedback about his public art project.

By creating paintings around the city that are free for anyone to see and appiate Bataclan has introduced a new element into the Boston art scene.Paintings meant purely for the enjoyment of others reveals the selfless side of art. The original characters that Bataclan has been drawing since he was young have since found their way to South.

Bataclan’s work has been featured at other schools as well. A fence in Somerville, near the Kennedy School playground, was attacked by vandals this year. When the inappropriate graffiti was spotted, the police were called and the wall was eventually painted black.

Bataclan was soon commissioned to paint a mural over this fence, and the once-marred wall is now brightly adorned with five of his characters.

When Principal Brian Salzer saw Bataclan’s work in the Somerville Journal, he immediately thought of hallways at South that were drastically in need of a change.

Bataclan began work on the Newton South mural on September 12. By the time students were returning from a brief vacation on Friday, the mural was completely finished. Another purpose of the project was to encourage students to paint murals more quickly.

Students passing by while the project materialzed right before them were intrigued.”I’ve heard so many people saying, ‘Oh, it’s so cute!’” Bataclan said while taking a break from painting.

And the characters are certainly cute. The big, bright eyes, goofy smiles and radically bright hues are almost unheard of in any high school.

“It really brightens up that section of the school, which was made in the 70′s or something,” junior Troy Eilertson commented.

“The best thing I’ve been hearing,” Bataclan said before resuming work on his creation, “is people walking by and saying ‘oh, this is making me smile.’”



Read more

Like it? Share it!


Copyright © Denebola | The Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School | 140 Brandeis Road, Newton, MA 02459.
Site designed by Chenzhe Cao.