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The Greenhouse School: Fall Festival Gala and the Saga of Captain Goodluck

The Greenhouse School

Fall Festival was a Great Success

Thanks for coming in to take a peek inside “the place with the flags,” participating in our raffle and auction, kids’ room, face painting and other activities. Our silent auction was available online for the first time in our history, and we received many high bids.

Thanks to all the local artisans who donated handmade soaps, jewelry, pottery, sculpture and artwork. This event wouldn’t be possible without their help and the help of all the volunteers who spent the weekend with us.

Fall Festival Gala and the Saga of Captain Goodluck

Crazy World Creations is the fine art and crafts label of Ms. Julia (Greenhouse School Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde), which donated this very special item to the school’s auction this year: a limited edition of her renowned Crazy Creatures with a Red Sox theme. Made by hand from repurposed cotton sweaters, each Crazy Creature is always a one-of-a-kind work of art. But the Sox being in the Series prompted her to make this one extra special, and donating it to the school’s auction seemed appropriate.

Among the interesting developments to come out of this year’s Gala was the saga of Captain Goodluck. An anonymous donor won the bidding, and wants to donate the creature to Dana Farber as a good luck charm for the Sox and for those being treated for cancer. Dana Farber is particularly appropriate not only because of its affiliation with the Red Sox, but also because it was where both Ms. Welch and Mr. Frank (the school’s founder and her husband) were treated for their cancers.

Julia makes Crazy Creatures all year long, each a unique and special creature which can be adopted by a loving home. These and other special items can be seen in the Crazy World Creations catalogue (scroll to bottom), or by contacting the artist at the school through

Greenhouse School Displays Mural

Public art piece is the culmination of art residency in memory of SHS grad

In 2013 The Greenhouse School established the Richard George Rousseau, Jr. Art Residency Award, in memory of a high school friend of Director Dan Welch. Rousseau passed away suddenly in 2013. As part of the Art Residency the recipient Marcus McKenzie is charged with helping to bring about a display of art in which he and Director Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde collaborate, and involve the kids in completing the work.

The Mural is a collaboration, in design, spirit and execution, between an emerging artist and an accomplished artist (though Ms. Julia scoffs a bit too modestly at this characterization, imho). When finished, it will be a 4’ x 16’ explosion of massive color and energy that will grace the fence facing north on the front of the school.

It is not only a piece of public art on prominent display, as called for by the RGR Art Prize; we hope it will also be the focal point of a fresh new look for the front of the school in time for the start of the school year.

About 25,000 cars per day pass by on Route 1A, and this will certainly give them something to look at. Lydia King, who attended Greenhouse along with Marcus and is also an intern with the kids this summer, has also helped in bringing the work to completion.

A complex and daunting undertaking, the mural is constructed in two pieces. The background echoes a series of abstract geometric designs on which Nambalirwa-Lugudde has been working for some time, and is loosely evocative—in part and in spirit—on her work African Meal, or tuliye emele, (“Let’s eat” in her native Luganda).

Against this background the completed design shows a seedling growing into a series of larger trees. The observer will note that the piece progresses from a more representational presentation toward greater abstraction from left to right. While not completely intentional, this seems to symbolize the growth that is paramount to learning at The Greenhouse School: greater abstraction requires broader and more complex thought, just as algebra evolves eventually from one-to-one correspondence in the mind of the growing child.

We are proud of the span of learners and learning we undertake at The Greenhouse School. The planting and growing theme not only echoes the school’s early motto Come Grow With Us, but more concretely mirror the school’s longstanding and increasing emphasis on farming and food production. While the school has gained reknown for its farming and art programs in recent years, it is important to stress our rigorous commitment to traditional academics.

We like to see ourselves as a living experiment, proof that art, algebra and agriculture can not only peacefully coexist, so to speak, but truly feed and thrive off each other to form an intense learning environment. It is not for nothing that children and families who have passed through the school over the years always seem to come back, having found a second home in The Greenhouse School. This brings into focus the school’s newer motto, which has never quite eclipsed the one in the mural: Never Stop Learning.

Funding for the project and for the RGR Art Residency is an ongoing challenge, and we welcome any contributions or assistance in this regard. The school is launching a series of art classes for children from the community this fall, not limited to those attending Greenhouse School. Also, a line of crafts spawned from the mural’s theme is also in production, including Mural Bagz, prints and other merchandise. (see below). For more information, please contact school officials. You may do so through the school’s website at

In addition to our academic programs for infants, toddlers, preschool, afterschool, summer and complete K-8th grade, please ask about our new initiatives:

Mural swag! Handmade colorful handbags inspired by our mural design, along with other merchandise and crafts to help fund our programs!

Art classes for students in the Fall – 2 days per week 3 p.m.

ESL classes and TOEFL prep – coming soon!

Family Meals: Nutritious, homemade meals for 4-5 from D&J catering at GHS – $20
Don’t feel like cooking? You don’t have to get fast food!

Also ask about volunteer opportunities to meet Community Service requirements

Crazy World Creations Catalogue
If your eyes are old and tired like Mr. Danny’s, please request a full-size version!

the greenhouse school is a year-round private alternative school in Salem, Massachusetts, for kids from infancy through grade eight, the greenhouse school is committed to true, lasting, comprehensive reform in education. However, also central to the idea of reform for us is the notion of access.

Open every day and year round, we strive to serve the broadest possible base from several nearby communities, providing an environment diverse in language, culture, class, race and learning style.

Take a tour of our school…

the greenhouse school

145 Loring Avenue, Salem, Massachusetts 01970 · (978) 745-4549

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