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Six mosaics featuring scenes from around Weare have been created by students at the middle school. (NANCY BEAN FOSTER/Union Leader Correspondent))

Anniversary Art

Weare students pay homage to town's history — artistically

WEARE — The entrance to the middle school has a bit of the town's history gracing its walls in a series of murals created by students and artist-in-residence Liz Van Saun.

Inspired by Weare's upcoming 250th anniversary, Van Saun, a mosaic artist, worked with more than 450 students to create the six large panels. The mosaics feature historical landmarks, reflect the town's agricultural history and explore the range of products once made in local factories.

Art teacher Dayna Spinner said members of the Weare Historical Society and 250th Anniversary Committee approached Principal Mark Willis about doing a project, and Spinner got on board. She met with society President Sherry Burdick and Treasurer Heleen Kurk to get a better sense of the town's history.

"I am not a Weare native so there was a lot to learn, and Weare has an amazing history," said Spinner.

At the end of last year, students led by Van Saun created drawings from photographs loaned to them by the historical society and created the templates for the mosaics.

"It was extremely important to everyone involved that the students be the driving force behind these designs," said Spinner. "To that end, I worked with one of my seventh-grade enrichment classes to decide on which areas to focus and then which industries."

The villages of Weare are represented by their unique history and landmarks. North Weare is depicted with a woolen mill, a cider jug, apples and a pair of boots that recall the shoe factory that once operated in town, said Spinner.

"For East Weare, we chose a cowhide to represent the tannery, a butter churn for the creamery, a portion of rope for the rope factory and the jumping jack toy, which was actually produced by the toy factory," she said.

Trees represent the town's lumber industry, pumpkins and seeds show the linseed oil mill, and the former hatter and harness shop are included as well.

"All of these mosaics were completed in a week, and all of our students participated," said Willis. "As you can imagine, it was a very busy, creative week of learning fun."

"They worked so hard, between their research and drawing," said Spinner. "Their drawing skills improved markedly throughout the process, and in the amazing habit of students, they really exceeded my already high expectations. I cannot say enough about how proud I am of each of them."

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