Ado Iacuzzo hasn’t yet seen the fruits of his many months of labour, but the 85-year-old Port Alberni man is looking forward to his next visit to a Richmond elementary school, which has added a welcome splash of colour to the gloomy, grey days of autumn.
Armed with a band saw and a belt sander, Iacuzzo cut out and sanded 1,400 pieces of plywood at his neighbourhood Sunshine Club’s wood-working club into the shared shapes of flower petals and eye-catching lady bugs and bees.
“Sean gives me a lot of projects,” Iacuzzo said with a chuckle of his son-in-law Sean Harrington, principal at Garden City Elementary School.
“It took a little bit of time,” he said, adding that he was glad to be a part of it.
In fact, it took months for Iacuzzo to cut out the shapes, which were designed and painted by the school’s students.
He only goes to the woodworking shop once a week, and would cut out 40 or 50 pieces each day.
The school, Garden City Elementary, donated $100 to the Sunshine Club in recognition of Iacuzzo’s work.
The project was completed under the guidance of Vancouver artist Sofia Silva-McGowan, who donated her expertise in coordinating the school-wide project. ICI Paints of Richmond furnished the outdoor paint.
“It was truly a community project and it was such a priviledge working with all of them,” Silva-McGowan said.
Silva-McGowan was enlisted by her friend, a teacher at Garden City, and the project launched in March.
Using just three shapes—a large petal, a small petal, and a circle—life was brought to the wood and the fence through the imagination of children and their colour co-ordinated painting skills.
She was complimentary of the buy-in from students and teachers from Kindergarten to Grade 7, and parents, many of whom helped hang the pieces on the school’s streetside chain-link fence last month, despite the fact their children had already graduated from the school.
Many people devoted their Saturdays to the project, which now serves to dress up the otherwise drab front of the school.
The artwork has added an unanticipated safety element as cars passing by are now slowing down to admire the artwork.
“The idea was to bring some garden back to Garden City,” said vice principal Wayne McDermott.
Martin van den Hemel writes for the Richmond Review.
—With a file from Susan Quinn, Alberni Valley News