New paint job gives Dawson City school a vibrant look

·2 min read
The Robert Service School in Dawson City has received a new paint job. The vibrant look is inspired by Yukon artist Ted Harrison's painted rendition of the school (Chris MacIntyre/CBC - image credit)
The Robert Service School in Dawson City has received a new paint job. The vibrant look is inspired by Yukon artist Ted Harrison's painted rendition of the school (Chris MacIntyre/CBC - image credit)

The Robert Service School in Dawson City has a new look.

Once yellow and green, the building now stands a vibrant orange, yellow and red.

"It's been the topic of conversation ever since the decision to go toward these colours," said Brian Lewthwaite, the school's principal.

"There's been a lot of community talk about it. Now students and staff are living in the reality of it and it certainly has a very strong vibe."

Lewthwaite says he feels the overall response for it has been "very positive."

Chris MacIntyre/CBC
Chris MacIntyre/CBC

Choosing the colours

The vibrant look is inspired by Yukon artist Ted Harrison's rendition of the Robert Service School, which he was commissioned to paint when the school was built in 1989.

There were many interesting options to choose from before settling on red, yellow, and orange.

"What we did is we took his profile of the school just like it was a colouring contest and basically we circulated it around to our students in the school to come up with colour schemes," Lewthwaite explained.

"The only rule we needed to play by is it had to have three colours."

Some students wanted to paint the school entirely black.

Some wanted it to be entirely white.

Christ MacIntyre/CBC
Christ MacIntyre/CBC

One of the ideas was Ted Harrison original colours.

Once a bunch of ideas were submitted, students and faculty voted on the preferred colours.

Ready for the first day of school

Painting began in June after school was let out for summer break.

The job was contracted to a local company and completed a day before students returned for the 2021 fall semester.

"It's brought a huge community response," Lewthwaite said.

"With back to school day a lot of parents had their kids out front of the school and were taking pictures of this brightly coloured school so I'm sure it's going to get a lot of exposure."

Lewthwaite told CBC News the arts has a major representation in his school, noting that most staff are professional artists.

"They're musicians, they're fiddlers, they're visual artists," he said.

"The arts is something that is significant in the school and I think it's important that we chose Ted Harrison as an artist. I think the external part of the school now fits with the character of the school."

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