If you find yourself walking through the foyer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Kenora, make sure you take the time to look up.

In fact, it’s difficult not to. Each year, the high school brings its students together to build the pieces for a collaborative work of art, based on the theme of Catholic Education Week.

This year, 71 students were involved in the effort to create hand-painted works, made of cardboard, Styrofoam and paper-mâché, inspired by the theme “Walking Forward Together.”

This year’s display shows off different styles of shoes (symbolizing different walks of life, and reminding students not to judge someone until they’ve “walked a mile” in their shoes), recreations of street signage like Pedestrian Crossing, and a dog, two cats and a fish working cooperatively to make it across a tightrope.

And it’s not just an art project — math plays a big role in building these large pieces. Real pairs of shoes and patterned print-outs help calculate ratios and scale, ensuring the students got the proportions right. And a few lucky kids stood as models for the life-sized animal-crossing.

“The students enjoy making the theme fun and uplifting as it’s the first thing they see when they enter the foyer,” said art teacher Nancy Prouty. “It fills them with pride and a sense of accomplishment.”

The artwork will stay up to remind students to work the theme into their day-to-day lives throughout the year, and will come down in May to make way for a fresh, new, collaborative masterpiece.

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