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This mural, displayed at a local school, is just one example of Rob Rossel's colorful creations. Pembroke Village School will soon have a mural of the Merrimack River within its corridors. (Robert Rossel/Symmetry Tile Works)

Brightening up

Tile artist to help Pembroke students brighten school

PEMBROKE — Robert Rossel has made a habit of traveling around northern New England and brightening the hallways of local schools with vibrant new looks.

Next week, he'll make the relatively short trek from Symmetry Tile Works in Epping to Pembroke Village School where he'll work with about 200 students to create a tile mural that's intended to extend the Merrimack River into the corridors of the town's oldest school.

"We're the oldest school in this town and we wanted to add the beauty and life from the outside of the school to the inside," said first-grade teacher Jennifer Lewis, who helped organize the school's artist-in-residence program. "We're very close to the Merrimack River, so that's why we decided on this particular design."

Lewis explained that Rossel had been referred a former colleague.

"We had heard great things about him and his work," she said. "Really for us, this is a matter of bringing an artist into our school and having our youngest student population have an experience that's going to stick with them for the rest of their lives and really be a benefit to this school as well."

Rossel is scheduled to arrive at Pembroke Village School at the beginning of the school day on Tuesday, March 24, and work with students through Wednesday, March 25. Students will paint each individual clay tile and then send them back with Rossel, who will glaze them, fire them in his kiln and then return in the spring to complete the wall mural.

In addition, a family night is scheduled for Wednesday, from 6 to 8 p.m. Parents, siblings and friends are encouraged to attend and paint their own tiles, which are then available for purchase at $25 each. Organizers are seeking donations to help offset the project and supply expense. Those who donate $25 or more will be recognized with plaques placed near the mural.

Those with questions are encouraged to call 485-1807. Donations may be sent to: Pembroke Village School, Attn: Tile Mural Project, 30 High St., Pembroke, NH 03275.

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