Sussex School seventh graders create public art for 35th annual day of service

Skylar Rispens

Rather than sitting in the classroom on Tuesday, students from Sussex School scattered across the Missoula community, taking advantage of the warm spring weather, to complete acts of service for their annual Ecothon.

While all students participated in projects, the seventh graders had a slightly different undertaking, which was equal parts restoration and public art. The crop of students painted the large turtles in the wading pool at Sacajawea Park in partnership with Missoula Parks and Recreation.

“In all of Missoula, we just need more color,” said Keira Kujawa, a seventh-grade student at Sussex.

The group of students painted the five large turtles colors of the sky throughout the day from sunrise to sunset. They were led by Sussex art teacher Janaina Vieira-Marques, who specializes in public art.

Their project is meant to represent the landscape and acknowledge the community’s connection to Big Sky County, Vieira-Marques said.

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“Sussex has been doing that for 35 years now through the Ecothon,” Vieira-Marques said. “We’re just excited to do something for the community.”

Students gathered in different groups to paint their turtles and played in the sun while waiting for

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