One of the first things people see when they walk into Riverside’s foyer is the four painted pillars; this has been a symbol of the school for 10 years now. 10 years ago, students and teachers came together to discuss the idea of painting the white cement pillars in the school’s foyer. This simple idea eventually developed into a large project involving the art club, Leadership, Green Shirts, and Ms. Janice Schmidt, a previous art teacher at Riverside.
When brainstorming ideas for the pillars, students said they wanted to express school spirit. “It’s going to give our school distinction and make people new to Riverside look at this as an art piece and symbol distinct to our school,” said Han Seo, a previous student at Riverside and member of the art club, in an article published by The Eddy in 2009. Seo was right, for the past 10 years, the pillars have been a symbol of our school and made it unique from others.
Ms. Jacqueline Collins, an art teacher at Riverside, said she thinks the artists who painted the pillars did a good job. “Every time I look at them, I see new things. I think that’s a part of the wonder of them,” said Collins. “The pillars are meant to be looked around at; they twist and turn; there are different connections and ideas everywhere.”
Mr. Jon Bruneau, Riverside’s principal, said that he thinks the pillars give the school texture. “There are different methods to preserve things like this, but I think it’s important that it is preserved somehow.”
The students’ goal was to express elements of masculinity and femininity in the pillars. When discussing how to do this, they decided to include technology as a masculine element and nature and organic materials as a feminine element. This was to create a cohesive environment in the foyer.
“It’s quite chaotic, and it doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Lauren Jadot, a grade 12 student at Riverside, about the art on the pillars.
Another student, Thea Erickson, also a grade 12 student at Riverside, had a differing opinion. “I think the pillars are meant to represent following your own path; being yourself and finding your own way amongst the disarray,” said Erickson.
There are many different opinions on what the pillars represent, but the legacy they have left is undeniable.