SCIOTOVILLE — A mural project completed by students from Portsmouth East High School at Brant Funeral Home (BFH), 422 Harding Ave., in Sciotoville, is a beautiful expression of history in it’s quintessence.
The mural project includes paintings of schools in Sciotoville, both past and present, including Harding Elementary School, North Moreland Elementary School, Lindsay Elementary School, Lafayette School, East Portsmouth Elementary School, Sciotoville Community Academy, Sciotoville High School and East High School.
“We had some extra room, and my wife Barb and I talked at great length, and I told her that I would like to make some room for some children, and for people to bring in food trays, and put some games back there for the young people and children,” Brant said. “So, we put a television in to watch Nickelodeon or cartoons for the kids that are brought to the funeral home.”
Brant said the mural project idea came from his wife.
“We were able to work out something with the space we already had and we had a large blank wall. I proceeded to have it painted, and my wife told me that she wanted me to contact the East High School art class and have them to come over and paint a mural,” Brant said. “I asked her if she was sure, and she said without any hesitation, yes.
“I called and talked with Mrs. Robin Slusher, and she said they would be thrilled to to do it and that she would ask for volunteers. We started out with I believe eight students, but five finished the project and (Slusher) worked diligently with my wife and they came up with some ideas, and they decided to put the school emblem along with the schools that were in the Sciotoville community and the only thing that I said I wanted was the Sciotoville bridge, which is well known to the entire community.
Slusher who teaches art grades five through 12 at Portsmouth East High School, said she was ecstatic when she was approached by Barbara Brant about doing the mural project.
“I am very proud of the work that our students did at Brants. They did an excellent job. Mr. Brant’s wife called me and asked if we would be interested in painting a mural, and she just wanted the East kids to do it because it is a community thing and she wanted something with the East Schools,” Slusher said. “When she told me that I was excited because I love the murals anyway, so I said absolutely. I just thank Jeff and Barb Brant for giving us the opportunity to do this. For the students, their names are going to be on that wall forever, and I am really excited about that, and I am super proud of them.”
The Portsmouth East High School students who completed the mural project at BFH are Brianna Craft a senior, Madison Bentley a sophomore, Ethan Carver a sophomore, Brady Douthat sophomore and Jacob Keeton a freshman.
Slusher brought her artistic work crews to Brant Funeral Home to work on the mural project on evenings from 4-8 p.m., and then on Saturday and Sunday evenings for eight hours a day. Two of the students also came over during the spring break for two days, 10 hours each day, to finish the project, according to Brant.
“We had the students to sign their names to the project. Then Mrs. Slusher made us two very large collages that are being framed at the present time,” Brant said. “I have found that during our visitations during the last six weeks most of the visitations have ended with people going to the back room admiring art work of these young teenagers. It sort of goes to show you that all teens are not bad.”
Being a native of Portsmouth makes the mural project even more special to the Brants.
“I am a native of Sciotoville. I was born and raised here. My wife Barb was born and raised here. We lived here until 1976 when we purchased a funeral home in Portsmouth, then we moved to Portsmouth proper, and lived there an additional 20 years, and then we built a home here in Sciotoville,” Brant said.
Brant said the artistry of the students is simply amazing. One student was able to land a job at BFH as a result of the mural project.
“I was just amazed at the art work that these kids were able to produce. The mural is just so outstanding if you would look around the various halls we have they are full of history,” Brant said. “I talked to the students while they worked on the project, and one that seem to stand out to me and my wife was Madison, who they called “Max,” who seemed to be a “take charge” type of student. Then there was Ethan, who I had conversations with. About a week later, the doorbell rang here, and it was Ethan all dressed up in a button down shirt and said he would like to have a job here. So he is now employed here at the funeral home. It has just been a wonderful experience.”
Harding Elementary School, North Moreland Elementary School, Lindsay Elementary School, Lafayette School, East Portsmouth Elementary School, Sciotoville Community Academy.
A mural project at Brant Funeral Home in Sciotoville that was complete by East Portsmouth High School students, is a wonderful added feature at the funeral home. This mural includes
A full view of the mural project at Brant Funeral Home in Sciotoville completed by East Portsmouth High School students.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.