Rowan-Salisbury Schools welcome Chewy with art exhibit in Spencer – Salisbury Post
SPENCER – North Rowan High School turned their design goal into an art project to celebrate Chewy’s arrival in Rowan County.
A small crowd gathered on Wednesday morning to see the product of the project: dozens of animal portraits and a public display at Park Plaza.
Wednesday’s event has its roots in 2019, when Chewy announced that their final distribution center would be in the Salisbury area. North Rowan High had recently completed a shipping container classroom design project. Addressing the crowd on Wednesday, the headmistress of the north, Meredith Williams, said the project introduced students to logistics and the school had started to think about how it could ‘impress’ Chewy.
The school spoke to the Philadelphia-based organization Fresh Artists, and founder Barbara Allen suggested that the students create portraits of their pets.
The project became a district-wide call for portraits to be created by students of all grade levels. The idea started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the pandemic hit, supplies were delivered to students as part of summer art camps.
There have been over 600 submissions, and 66 have been incorporated into the Fresh Artists collection.
The project did not stop there. The emphasis was on design at North Rowan and the idea of public display of a few selected pieces took hold. The students also produced a video explaining the project, which visitors could watch on iPad on Wednesday to explain what they were seeing.
Mazin Merghani, general manager of the local Chewy distribution center, attended the presentation and accepted large-scale prints of some of the pieces to be displayed in the center.
“It’s a very humbling experience,” Merghani told The Post.
Merghani said Spencer’s mayor Jonathan Williams, Meredith’s husband, contacted the company about the project on behalf of the school.
Meredith praised the diversity of animals, from chickens to ferrets, and how the students brought out their pets’ personalities with additional details like a pair of glasses on a dog.
“I just think it’s so much fun to watch,” said Leigh Ann Alexander, art and drama teacher at North. “A lot of times you can even tell it must be the child’s pet because you can see their personality come through.”
She had the opportunity to meet some of the pets when distance education started due to COVID-19.
Alexander connected other art teachers in the county with Fresh Artists for the project and also distributed the materials.
Alexander said the school had worked with Fresh Artists before, but this project was more important because it involved the entire district. She said the biggest part of the project was documenting each piece before sending them to Fresh Artists and ultimately returning the originals to the kids.
Rising North Rowan Grade 10 Abbie Miller and Khoron Miller created the video explaining the project. Abbie also submitted pieces for the project.
Khoron said the project was fun and that he enjoyed some time in the spotlight.
“I feel great,” Abbie said. “It made me feel like a good student, like a leader.”