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The Web of Life

All knowledge, life forms and creativity are connected. The web of life was an inter-disciplinary arts and curriculum project carried out by artists Laurie Marshall and Sharon Wyrrick in Rappahannock County Public School Systems in collaboration with teachers, staff and students. The residency was funded by The Virginia Commission for the Arts, the Rappa-hannock County School System and members of the community.

The WEB OF LIFE mural was researched and painted under the guidance of Ms.Marshall by two hundred 5th, 6th, and 7th grade science students. Inspired by Dr. David Snyder at Fauquier Hospital, VA, who said, "When people don't feel like they are a part of the Web of Life, they are more likely to destroy it," the painting involved young people in learning about the Web of Life through a creative, collaborative and hands-on process. The mural includes the galaxy, where the earth's Web is; an invisible web of the microscopic, the prehistoric, the extinct, the imaginative and the spiritual; a visible web of life forms that are tied to each other; and a border of the students' ancestors, without whom they wouldn't be here. I

The 8' x 16' painting, which is on sheets of plywood has travelled to private schools, public schools, a prison, and a hospital.

At Rappahannock County High School, the WEB OF LIFE residency took the form of artistic projects and workshops in thirteen different subject areas involving two hundred and fifty students under the guidance of Ms. Wyrrick. The students experienced the Web of Life in the importance of their individual role to the whole. Much of the artwork was made from cast off materials-a way of recycling something beautiful and alive from what often is considered used up and useless. The teenagers took inform-ation from the text book page and brought it to life in plays, writing, dancing, sculptures and mask making. As in the Web of Life, knowledge and information found expression in a rich diversity of forms.

Poems from the Project:

"Universe is to Earth As a baby is to birth.

Strands of DNA -

Life's dramatic play

Ancient reptiles of the past

How long can it last?"

Amy Hathaway,

Ryan Armistead,

Shannon Eastham,

Jo Tole,


"We spend hours searching for God,

Looking everywhere but here.

He enters us

and exits us

as our chest rises and falls. We shine...."

Yahya Griffin, Camp#7, Fauquier County Prison

"I learned about the invisible people (our ancestors) because we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for them."

Heather Dunn, RCES

"Thank you for sharing this magnificent piece of work. It shows the enormous projects kids can do. Keep up the good work, kids, and as long as you shoot for the stars, you won't be condemned for trying. If you think that you have any talent, please go after it."

Eddie NcGwain, Camp#7, Fauquier County Prison

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