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History, Art on Display

Students display their artistic abilities at the Post Office.

King James I, Pocahontas, Captain John Smith, Queen Elizabeth I and many others now decorate the walls of the Vienna Post Office thanks to the artistic work by the fourth grade students at Cunningham Park Elementary School.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the first permanent English colony, Jamestown, students at Cunningham Park drew portraits of their favorite famous Jamestown characters.

“The most popular character for the girls was probably Queen Elizabeth I — even though she died prior to the Jamestown settlement. There weren’t as many Pocahontas’ as I expected. Mostly there were a lot of kings and queens,” said Alice Carney, art teacher at Cunningham Park Elementary School.

Emma Rooney, a fourth grade student that took part in the project, said, “I chose Queen Elizabeth I because she’s really pretty.” Emily Bradner and Sarah Banks shared the same sentiments. The array of characters ranged from King James I, Pocahontas, Christopher Newport, Lord De La Warr, Jamestown Bride, Chief Powhatan, Powhatan’s brother Openchancanough, a London merchant, Captain John Smith, Lady Rebecca, a Virginia company stock-holder, sailor from the Susan Constant, John Rolfe, Queen Elizabeth I, a London gentleman and a Powhattan brave.

Not only did the students design and illustrate their favorite Jamestown characters, they also mixed their own colors thus creating their own palettes to make their portraits as distinctive as possible. They also created their own frames to accompany their portraits. Some were wildly decorated but others imitated a more traditional frame — one solid color with little to no embellishments.

The special Jamestown art project coincided with the fourth grade Program of Studies where students learn about the history of Virginia. The fourth grade class at Cunningham Park comprises Gail Allen’s and Annie McElwain’s fourth grade classes which meet for art class every other week.

“The entire project took about two class times to complete. Throughout the project I tried to incorporate their history lessons with the art project,” said Carney.

The artwork will be up for display for the month of April in honor of the 400th anniversary and will be moved to the Patrick Henry Library in Vienna for the month of May due to its success at the Vienna Post Office.

Some of the artwork is also available for viewing at Cunningham Park Elementary School.