Stroll down Swainsboro High’s D Hall and you’ll find a masterpiece of art, courtesy of senior Breanna Garrett.
The school’s latest visual addition is a large, agricultural-themed mural. Garrett says her ag teacher, Faith Patrick, and her art teacher, Luci McNeely, asked her to tap into her creative side and paint the piece, and she immediately obliged.
“To begin with, I was a little shocked when they asked me. I think they chose me because they know how much I love art. It means a lot to me that they trusted me to do it.”
Garrett purchased the supplies herself and, with acrylic paint in tow, she set out to work on the piece every morning during her second block class. Two and a half months later, the mural is complete. It includes the FFA emblem and part of the organization’s creed, various farm animals, a barn, different varieties of Georgia crops, and other aspects of rural life.
Now that it’s finished, the mural’s creator is extremely proud of her accomplishment and contribution to Swainsboro High School. “It was a lot of work. I only had about an hour a day to work on it most of the time.”
During that hour, she says, lots of her fellow students acknowledged her work. “People would walk by and say, ‘Oh, you’re the one who’s doing this! This is really cool!’ I thought that was pretty neat.”
Garrett used a projector to trace a printout of the emblem, but she freehanded the remainder of the mural. Students would occasionally bump into the wet paint on accident and cause an imperfection, but the finished product is flawless.
The school periodically uploaded snapshots of the mural’s progress on Facebook. When the final photograph was posted, Garrett says numerous people approached her with opportunities to paint other murals. A gentleman planning to open a barbecue joint in Swainsboro in the near future has asked her to paint a pig on the side of the business’s building, the local vape shop in town has expressed an interest in her artistic abilities, and the possibility of painting a sign for The Boneyard has been mentioned as well.
“I’ve been drawing stuff since I was able to pick up a pencil,” Garrett explained.
She says she’s into all types of mediums from color pencils to watercolors to charcoal and everything in between. While she’s certainly proud of her mural, she says many people aren’t aware that she has another piece of artwork on the school’s walls. Inside McNeely’s art room lives a smaller mural of 90s cartoon characters. “I also did the Pine Tree Festival poster contest last year and I won first place in the high school division. I’m going to try to win first overall this year.”
Obviously her passion for art runs deep. She would love to attend the Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue an art degree but for now, she’s plans to head to Statesboro and attend Georgia Southern University. Interestingly, she wants to become an English teacher—but she’s got her sights set on how to incorporate her artistic side.
“My classroom is definitely going to be artsy. I want it to be homey, a space students will look forward to coming to every day.”
A native of Bleckley County, Garrett moved to Swainsboro in 2013 when she was welcomed by her foster parents, Lisa and Benji Staveley. She spends her spare time reading and studying, going to the animal sales on Saturdays, and listening to music. When asked what her favorite part of Swainsboro High School is, her answer was easy.
“I think what I enjoy most about Swainsboro High School is that I’ll be a part of it for years to come because of my mural. Hopefully, my artwork will be there for a long, long time. I hope other people enjoy looking at it as much as I enjoyed creating it. I feel like I’ve left my mark for sure.”
This story first appeared in Emanuel County Live