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New school mural unveiled

The Mayor of Henley came to official unveil our fantastic new school mural on Monday 31st October.

The mural is an enormous map of Henley-on-Thames, which was designed and painted by local artist, Nicola Sutherland. It took Nicola 184 hours to paint over twenty weeks.and spans an entire wall in the entrance hall. Working daily during term time, Mr Armitage says she became known as the ‘artist in residence.’

Staff and children put forward their ideas on what they thought should feature on the mural. They came up with suggestions of things that meant something to them, including buildings, locations, people and events, and Nicola incorporated them into a striking piece of detailed wall art.

You'll find everything from the school itself, to the playing fields, the River and Rowing Museum, the regatta, the Town Hall and even the Queen, who passed away as the mural was completed. Nicola included the Queen with Rupert Bear, instead of Paddington, which the children think is fantastic! If you look closely, you'll also see that she added three little depictions of Mr Woodley in separate locations, in a nod to the well known 'Where's Wally' books!

Nicola says that she hopes people see something new every time they walk past it.

The Henley Herald came to see the Mayor officially unveil the mural and perfectly captured Mr Armitage's speech:

Headteacher, Mr Nick Armitage, proudly unveiled the mural with the hope it will nurture creativity. He loved how “the children would come and talk to Nicola and their input is a big part of the design.” He believes everyone needs to “see themselves as creative,” and that “every single child brings their own creativity to all subjects.” “The mural is not just a piece of art to be admired, it is a message for the students, the school and the community: Art is important.” The Mayor of Henley, Michelle Thomas, agrees that “art is a thread which runs through every single educational establishment and for Rupert House to give it a platform sends out the strongest signal to everybody. Art is in so many things we see every day. That is where the true beauty of the mural lies; the way it links creativity and community.”

Mr Armitage, talking about a new initiative, Education Henley, which includes other Henley schools within a five-mile radius and sets out to create more opportunities for all Henley schools, says he is pleased the mural also encapsulates that sense of community. Along with landmarks and events, other local schools are also named on the mural really bringing together the idea of support for each other and emphasising the important role Rupert House plays in the town.

Mayor, Michelle Thomas, agreed, commenting on the superb ‘attention to detail,’ and enjoying how the mural is ‘threaded through with history.’ As a final comment, Mayor Michelle Thomas, added that having Nicola work in the school really gave the children a chance to see “an example of how to earn a living through art.”

We are very happy with the finished mural and feel it is a great addition to the school and the community.

Henley Rupert House mural