Starry Night Will Soon Shine in Courtyard…Hopefully

By Lauren Richards –

“The inspiration is an ugly wall in a beautiful courtyard.”

Students in all of Teri Hay’s art classes have been working on spicing up an empty 10-foot by 65-foot wall in the courtyard at Penn Manor High School for the past three years. The design being put on the wall is based on Van Gogh’s Starry Night. What started out as a one-year project has faced many obstacles and has proven to be more lengthy than expected.

Progress of the art wall after three years. Photo by Lauren Richards

“The commercial art classes came up with the design two years ago,” said Hay.

The task at hand has turned into much more than just a quick fix, due to how time consuming it is. Hay has to spend an hour on each square before the students even get to touch it.

The process for each section is very distinct. It starts out with a paper sample for students to go off of, then they use color coding to find the pieces of glass they need to create their individual sections.

There are other preparations that need to be done as well, such as putting tape on the wall and then peeling it off 24 hours later.

Senior Jill Zimmerman is one student who has worked on the wall.

“It was pretty time consuming,” Zimmerman said.

Time isn’t the only thing making this project difficult, the actual work that goes into it is anything but easy.

Hay said that one complaint from students is that they cut themselves.

“I enjoyed the end result but working on it was really hard,” Zimmerman said.

Students in Art 1 work on the art wall. Photo by Lauren Richards

Whitney Reno said she has worked on the wall the majority of the time it’s been a project. Reno even takes Independent Study to work on the wall. She enjoys participating in this project and said she really got into working on it last year.

“I think everyone should be exposed to art, and it’s one giant piece of artwork that so many people work on,” Reno said.

With all the different aspects of this project it’s no surprise that money is an issue. The Penn Manor Education Foundation (PMEF) funded most of what was needed.

“The whole thing is expensive,” said Hay.

Although the task has not followed its original time-line, Hay said she’s hoping it will finally be completed by the end of this school year.

“The biggest challenge is to get people to see the big picture,” Hay said.