High school student murals make splash in Trumbull

TRUMBULL — Feathers can be beautiful, but seem a little insignificant on their own, said Danielle Haniph, 17, of Trumbull.

It’s only when they are joined together that they become powerful, explained the St. Joseph High School junior.

“When feathers come together, they form these wings, which become an unstoppable force,” Haniph said.

That’s the concept behind the “Trumbull Soars As One” murals that she created. The two murals — each depicting a set of wings made of paper “feathers” decorated by local children — now hang at the Trumbull Nature & Arts Center and the Trumbull Library. The project was largely funded through state grant money obtained by the nature center last year.

Nature center director Sheryl Baumann said Haniph contacted her about the project about a year ago.

“We’re very supportive of students, so we said ‘Let’s do this,’” Baumann said.

Haniph said she started the murals partly as a way to earn community service hours for school, but also because she saw the project as a way to do some good.

“I really felt inclined to do this because we were in the middle of the pandemic and I was looking for a way to spread positivity in our community,” Haniph said.

She said she liked the idea of using individual feathers to create something larger, much the way that individual people can come together to form something greater and more powerful.

“This is really a message of unity and how we’re able to stand together during these really difficult times,” Haniph said.

She created and cut out the paper feathers and left them on tables at various nature center events for children to decorate. Eventually, about 200 feathers were decorated for the project. She then assembled the multi-colored feathers into wings. Both the mural at the nature center and the library bear the “Trumbull Soars As One” inscription.

The nature center mural made its debut at an Earth Day event that took place April 16 at the center. The library mural was unveiled Saturday.

Baumann said the murals have made a good impression so far.

“I think everyone, regardless of their own personal views can relate to the beauty of the bird,” she said. “How could you be divisive about something like this? It’s beauty and it’s nature and it brings people together.”

Haniph echoed those thoughts.

“It’s been great,” she said. “People have been telling me ‘My kids love this.’”