The FWSU Story: A Colorful Collaboration at BFA Elementary

The adage, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” rang true this year at BFA Elementary as third-through-fifth grade students in art class created colorful, collaborative, permanent art works. Three large-scale murals were recently completed using re-used colorful plastic caps collected throughout the year by our community. The project was spearheaded by a group of current fourth graders when they started collecting caps with this idea in mind last year. Sam, one of the original collectors said, “This has been going on for two years. We started in third grade collecting caps and now it’s done!”

“I think when you walk through the hall, it makes everything in the school have color, pop and feel very special.” – AUSTIN, GRADE 4


The recycled art project focused on collaborative creativity and school pride, and was a meaningful way for students to learn United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development. Through art, students explored goals ‘Responsible Consumption’ and ‘Life Below Water.’ Classes learned about plastic pollution and the permanence of plastic in our environment, along with ways we can reduce our consumption of plastic.

“We learned about plastic and how it can affect animals. How around the world there are five main trash deposits in the oceans. So what we used will stay out of the ocean and help save the world just a little bit. A little bit can go a long way.” – TEDDY, GRADE 4


Students investigated how art can improve a space and brainstormed multiple approaches to a creative art or design problem. They combined ideas to generate an innovative idea and collaboratively set goals and create artwork that is meaningful and has purpose to our school. One student exclaimed, “I don’t think I would ever think to do this type of art, but I feel proud!”

“We learned about plastic, which just stays on the earth forever- it doesn’t go away. So using the caps makes it so we are keeping it from the earth and making something beautiful out of it!” –VANESSA, GRADE 4


The pieces feature themes relating to our community, which students submitted and art teacher Kim Desjardins helped combine with underpainting on the 7’ tall panels. Over months, students worked together sorting caps by color, excitedly crafting cheerful imagery with the plastic circles, and used power drills to screw the some 700 caps into place. Tatum shared that, “I think it’s really cool because if you think about it, it will be here for a long time, like if its still there in twenty years, I can be like, ‘I made that!'”

The art made is now a treasure for the school community to enjoy for years to come.

The mural will be on view at our 1st Annual K-12 Art Show, May 6-10, with an Opening Reception on May 7th from 5:30-7:00. We hope to see you there!

Kimberley Desjardins is the Art Teacher at BFA Fairfax Elementary. You can follow her on Twitter @KimberleyDesja2 and Instagram @bfacreativekids

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