- Cheltenham School District
Alumnus Arthur Haywood ’08 Unveils Harry Potter-Themed Mural for Elkins Park School Library
Elkins Park (October 2, 2020) - Up and coming visual artist Arthur Haywood, who graduated from CHS in 2008 and the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2012 with a degree in illustration, unveiled his 4x4-foot Harry Potter-themed oil mural “Sky High” Wednesday at Elkins Park School.
The unveiling featured Haywood’s family, former teachers, district administrators and members of the Cheltenham School District Foundation, which hosted the event, and a short spoken program.
Inspired by the mystical, magical world of Harry Potter, the mural features Elkins Park student Myuri Marshall levitating on pages from a book against the backdrop of a soaring dragon and Hogwarts castle. The border shows magical symbols from the moon and hat to the symbols of each Hogwarts house. Haywood surveyed EP students about which magical symbols they would like to see on the border and the wand, snitch, owl and wolf were voted the most popular options.
Myuri met Haywood at a lunch and learn at EP in February, and the two connected immediately and continued to stay in touch over a shared love of art and science fiction. Myuri showed Haywood her sketchbook and they talked about how to make a mural. “It is important to me to paint diverse people in my works because everyone should feel they are awesome,” Haywood said.
Cheltenham School District Foundation board member Elisa Davidson attended the February lunch and learn. A year prior, CSDF had held a tributary fundraiser to recognize principal Dr. Gerry Fitzpatrick-Doria’s retirement, with plans to use the funds to honor Dr. Doria’s love of literacy and art. CSDF seized the opportunity to commission a mural for the EP library from Haywood.
The Elkins Park Library is the perfect place for Haywood’s mural, for more than the fact that Haywood’s work focuses on the wonder of stories to excite children about reading.
“When I was a fifth grade student at EP, Harry Potter excited me about getting into reading,” said Haywood, whose favorite Potter book is “Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.” “I wanted to show the captivating world of reading so they can embark upon their own reading journey. Exciting kids to read is important to me. Learning to read develops opportunities, and continuing to read builds one’s knowledge.”
The day following the unveiling, Haywood left for Paris for a fellowship, which will run through spring 2021, at the school Lycée Paul Lapie, where he will develop murals to inspire a love of learning and cultural appreciation among its students as the recipient of the 20-21 Harriet Hale Woolley Scholarship from the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris.