School of the Arts’ character is quite ‘revealing’

SDSA mural lena and maria

Southern Delaware School of the Arts eighth graders Lena Bird and Maria Cusimano unveil the school’s mural project at Monday’s revealing ceremony.

SELBYVILLE – Dancing and singing often garner the spotlight at Indian River School District’s Southern Delaware School of the Arts.

Monday afternoon art took center-stage.

It was literally quite revealing.

A school/community wide mural project reflecting school and student character with an anti-bullying stance was christened at a gala revealing ceremony.

Dozens of parents attended the event.

“From my perspective this is very special because it shows what we do here. I’m very lucky to be a part of this,” said SDSA eighth grader Maria Cusimano, who teamed with classmate Lena Bird in the project unveiling.

“We are kind of used to that for dancing and singing and our performances that we have,” said Jamie Moore, SDSA art teacher. “But it is very heart-warming to see people come out for the arts.”

SDSA mural artist john donato

Professional artist John Donato of Ocean View talks about the mural project undertaken by Southern Delaware School of the Arts students, staff and the school community.

The mural was created in partnership with professional artist John Donato of Ocean View and the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation.

During a one-week period in January, each student in the K-8 school contributed his or her strip book bind to the mural. Teachers, administrators and many parents and guardians added their artistic touches. Parents night was Jan. 13.

Patti Grimes, Joshua M. Freeman Foundation executive director, thanked everyone involved, including parents and caregivers “who believe and know that arts are such an important fabric in our community.”

Ms. Grimes cited statistical data that shows children who participate in the arts “do better in math and science and are better prepared for life and involvement in the community.”

Individual book binds comprise panels encased in 8-foot book cases that resemble a library. The mural project is located along a hallway at an access point with the adjacent Indian River Education Complex.

Each SDSA student received a special bookmark memorializing the project.

Mr. Donato, an avid surfer, likened the mural effort to small ripples far out in the ocean that become waves.

“It crests into something rideable and enjoyable,” he said. “It is having an effect on the community. Whether people realize it or not it is building a better community.”

“As an artist there is so much that I can do, and so much I can’t do,” he said. “This team brings it all together.”

SDSA mural group shot 1

From left, Southern Delaware School of the Arts Principal Heather Bethurum, assistant principal Barkley Heck, students Elena Finneran, Tamara Devlin, Talia Curcio, Maria Cusimano, Anne Dolan, Jamie Moore artist John Donato at the revealing of the school’s mural project.

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

You are encouraged to leave relevant comments but engaging in personal attacks, threats, online bullying or commercial spam will not be allowed. All comments should remain within the bounds of fair play and civility. (You can disagree with others courteously, without being disagreeable.) Feel free to express yourself but keep an open mind toward finding value in what others say. To report abuse or spam, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box.