Mural at Major Howard W. Beal School - CODAworx

Mural at Major Howard W. Beal School

Submitted by Andree Witkos

Client: Shrewsbury Public Schools

Location: Shrewsbury, MA, United States

Completion date: 2021

Project Team

Principal Architect

Kathryn Crockett

Lamoureux Pagano Associates | Architects

Project Architect

Sean Brennan

Lamoureux Pagano Associates | Architects


Natalie Gabrielle

Lamoureux Pagano Associates | Architects


Corinna Javier

Lamoureux Pagano Associates | Architects

Principal Artist

Peter Reynolds


Studio Manager

Julia Young Cuffe


Construction Manager

David Fontaine Jr.

Fontaine Brothers Inc.

Project Executive

Frank Payeur

Fontaine Brothers Inc.

Laminate Contractor

Dwayne Arnold

Panolam Surface Systems

Millwork Contractor

Peter Fiordalice

John Carlo Woodworking

Community Philanthropist

Robert (Chief Joseph) Terkanian


Kevin Mizikar

Shrewsbury Town Manager


Joseph Sawyer

Shrewsbury Superintendent of Schools


Patrick Collins

Shrewsbury Asst. Supt. of Operations and Finance


Amy Clouter

Shrewsbury Asst. Supt. of Curriculum and Instruction


Christian Girardi

Shrewsbury Beal School Principal


The school district wished to preserve a beloved mural from their previous school that had become a cultural touchstone for the school community. Through a collaborative public-private partnership, artist Peter Reynolds was commissioned to create an expansive new mural inspired by his original piece that stretches along the primary entry lobby, sloping down to the lower-level media center; the shapes of the artwork are configured to fit the space they occupy.

The large format of the mural and the design of the space that the artwork would inhabit posed challenges that the team would have to address with creativity, flexibility and thoughtful planning. Peter Reynolds used digital watercolor of his hand-drawn characters, then used that vector file to print the artwork onto the plastic laminate panels that were installed in the school.

The length of the mural is approximately 135’ long — divided into 4 sections over the full length of the 175’ lobby and media center feature wall. The mural is 24’ tall at the stairwell where it spans the ground and main level of the building.


The mural that greets students as they enter the new Beal Elementary School and enlivens their path through the lobby and into the media center, was designed to be colorful, joyful, and uplifting. Those are the words artist Peter Reynolds uses when he describes his vision for the artwork.

The mural features life-size children engaged in any activity you might think of: playing the guitar, reading a book, kicking a soccer ball, painting — exploring their world. The idea was that students would see themselves represented in the images and be inspired to pursue their own passions and “make their mark.”

Surrounding the images of children are various details of our natural world: butterflies, stars, leaves, and then importantly, words. The words were collected through a collaboration with the school and community, which means students can see their own ideas represented in the artwork.

This defining feature of the school creates a welcoming, joyful environment where students see themselves represented in the diverse children depicted in the artwork. The mural features words from the community that are intended to inspire occupants, expand vocabularies, and provide curriculum touchstones.


The collaborative process between the artists at FableVision and architects and designers at LPA|A was both creative and painstaking, with much trial and error to get to a finished product that met everyone’s high expectations.

The process began with discussions about the artist’s vision, the school’s culture, and the hopes for the design of the new school. The school district was given the opportunity to give input on initial thoughts, and words were collected from the school community that were integrated into the artwork. The ultimate design of the school was informed as much by the mural as the mural was designed to reflect the school community. Once the final concept and artwork was created it had to be printed in the large format and with durable materials required for the scale of the school.

Coordination with a specialty scanning service, fabrication shops, and installers – all challenged by pandemic pressures – was required for success. But that attention to detail, in laying out the artwork, formatting the components of the mural to fit the space, color testing, measuring, scaling and printing the artwork, all led to a smooth installation and a final mural that was perfect on opening day.

Additional Information

The school’s mission is to “establish the roots of lifelong learning where all are accepted and respected members of a safe and caring community. We will grow to be socially and emotionally confident to become academically empowered. Together we will celebrate our unique strengths to pursue individual dreams and achieve collective goals.” The concepts embedded in the mural helped to inform this written mission, just as the culture of the school helped inform the mural. As Peter H. Reynolds notes, "Every time I step into Beal Elementary School and see the vibrant mural spanning the lobby and two floors, I am filled with joy. It's a testament to the power of collaboration and the impact that art can have on a learning environment." “I applaud the school leadership and community for having the imagination and commitment to this dream project. Knowing that thousands of children, educators, parents and community members will be touched by my art and messages in this immersive way is really an incredible honor.” Assistant Superintendent Amy Clouter said of the space, ““When I think about the vision that we had on paper for a joyful school building that would inspire generations, I am really grateful to LPA|A for taking that vision and making it writ large.”