Students had the opportunity to chat with Ventura’s Mayor Matt LaVere (he’s the bigger one). Photo by VCS parent Manjula Perera
On Thursday, February 21st, 50 third graders from Ventura Charter School of Arts and Global Education (VCS) walked two miles to Ventura City Hall for a highly anticipated field trip. This journey was a celebration of the unveiling of their “Spread Peace and Love” mural on display in City Hall. The spirit of this peaceful mural is to be a traveling art peace around the city. When third-grade VCS teachers Emily Noel and Kim “Flow” Hansmeier reached out to Ventura City Hall to be the first hosts of the art piece, City Hall was instantly supportive and excited.
Kathryn Dippong Lawson, Ventura City Hall’s Cultural Arts, Education & Historic Supervisor, helped coordinate this special event. The day involved a glance at Ventura’s historical art pieces within City Hall on a guided tour from Tobie Roach, the City of Ventura’s Public Art Specialist. Students had many opportunities to learn about famous, local artists and to connect with art through reflection, observations, and questions.
The field trip concluded with a “Mayor Meet Up” as students had the unique opportunity to chat with Ventura’s Mayor Matt LaVere. Mayor LaVere then concluded the incredible experience by unveiling the student’s art piece of peace. Many high fives, cheers, and peace signs were given and joyful pictures were taken with the Mayor.
Quotes from VCS third grade artists reflecting on their big day at Ventura City Hall:
“At City Hall, we met awesome people! Kathryn and Tobie seemed very passionate about the City Hall art and they wanted to share it with us. City Hall inspired us to do more. The Mayor was much different than I thought he’d be. I thought he’d be really old. He was so fun and cool! We learned that the Mayor’s job is important. The Mayor makes Ventura a better community. He’s a kind person. Meeting him was an exciting opportunity. Maybe I can be the Mayor one day. The Mayor said that every day he walks into City Hall and the first thing he sees is our mural saying, ‘Spread Peace and Love’ and it reminds him to do that. He said the best Mayors spread peace and love.”
“This mural was about kindness, spreading peace, and love to others. We went to be representatives of kindness. We went to show ourselves being a part of the community. Spreading peace, love, and kindness is all that we want to do and are going to do; all that we are. We want our community to be peaceful and kind. We are all pieces of the mural. There are 50 parts/bones of the mural.”
“Our mural is a chance to express ourselves and the work we’ve done. Our peaceful family is open for others to join. We can all be one and bring others together. When you’re kind to yourself, it makes being kind to others easier. The mural is a reminder you can be peaceful and you can set the example; it’s something we don’t want people to forget.”