SHS students paint mural at Sentara St. Luke’s

Published 4:58 pm Friday, April 12, 2024

The Sentara St. Luke’s campus in Carrollton is getting a facelift courtesy of Smithfield High School history and art students.

Sentara St. Luke’s director Tricia Christoffer said the medical network had planned to renovate the building’s community room, which nonprofit organizations can use for free, and as part of the project requested a mural that would emphasize the community.

“The community of Smithfield is very historic; it has a lot of landmarks,” Christoffer said.

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The work began last fall when roughly 60 students in Zachary Kempf’s VA-US history classes researched local history and began designing components of the mural. Art teacher Alyssa Canady then helped arrange the elements drawn by the students into a design that could be projected onto a wall in the community room.

From there, nine students in her and fellow art teacher Beth Gibble’s spring 2024 classes took over.

One quadrant of the mural depicts Historic St. Luke’s Church & Museum, which dates to the 17th century. Another depicts the 19th century Mansion on Main in downtown Smithfield. The remaining two depict the 18th century Windsor Castle homestead of Smithfield founder Arthur Smith IV and the Smithfield Station restaurant, hotel and marina. 

In the center of the mural is an outline of the town’s borders and, of course, pigs, in a nod to the town’s centuries-long association with ham and meatpacking.

The students began painting the mural on April 10 and had nearly finished by April 11.

The room hosts Alcoholics Anonymous meetings on Tuesdays and Sundays, quarterly Red Cross blood drives and a prostate cancer support group, among other nonprofits.

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Zachary Kempf’s last name.