Students help local muralist paint the walls at WHBI

Kylie Pregent used her paintbrush to pull a small drip of green paint across the cafeteria wall at the William H. Barton Intermediate School. 

A girl paints a mural on a school cafeteria wall“I love painting,” the fourth grader said as she kept her eyes on her artwork, “and all of my friends are here.”

Kylie and her classmates have been spending two hours a day after school three days a week painting a mural at WHBI with the assistance of local artist Hannah Williams. 

A 2011 Queensbury grad, Williams has been a muralist for 10 years. She painted the black bear and owl mural on the side of one of the buildings in downtown Glens Falls. 

Student stands on a ladder to paint a mural in schoolThe WHBI mural depicts the real-life bucolic geography of the school with rolling hills, evergreen trees, the slopes of West Mountain and a hot air balloon floating through blue skies. The Queensbury campus used to be an airport, so the mural also boasts an airplane pulling a sign bearing the school’s motto, “Let your dreams fly and WHBI.”

“They’re getting hands-on experience painting a mural,” Williams said, “and they’re learning techniques as we go. I explain different ways to hold the paintbrush, so they’re learning through doing.”

When Williams was a student she was passionate about art, but felt like the only job opportunity for an artist was to become an art teacher. She hopes to inspire kids to follow that passion into becoming working artists and muralists. 

Art teacher Caitlin Reeves brought Williams to speak to students last year.  Students paint a mural on a school wall

“They are definitely learning the process of what goes into making something so permanent and impactful,” Reeves said. “It’s not something that takes one day and one marker, and you’re done. At this age, knowing the process is grander than just the product.”