Fifth Grader Creates Linocut Print for “Ramayana!” Photo Backdrop

Majestic towering redwoods and a soaring hawk – symbols long-associated with Mount Madonna School (MMS) – were recently rendered as carved linocut prints by fifth grade student Felix Alvarado, and displayed on a large photo backdrop at the school’s recent “Ramayana!” production in San Jose.

Earlier this spring, “Ramayana!” Assistant Director Chelsea Otterness was brainstorming how to make the production extra special for the student cast and community this year, and decided a “red carpet photo opportunity” seemed in order.

“We wanted to create a dedicated space for patrons and the MMS community to commemorate their experience with a special photo space,” said Otterness. “At red carpet events, typically the sponsor of the event has a ‘step and repeat’ backdrop with sponsor logos tiled from top to bottom printed on a large canvas.”

After seeing a block print artwork by Alvarado on greeting cards that were being sold to support fifth grade’s Steller sea lion project at the school’s annual Earth Day festival, Otterness approached him to see if he had interest in carving his own version of the Mount Madonna School logo.

“The idea was to use this artistic rendering of the logo as our “Ramayana!” photo background,” commented Otterness. “Felix was up to the challenge and worked meticulously and creatively to create a beautiful linoleum carving and two print reproductions of the design – featuring a hawk, which is the school’s mascot, some lovely trees and ‘MMS,’ the acronym of the school’s name.”

“I ran into many obstacles in the making of this print,” said Alvarado, “but I kept going and I was able to create art that I hope people will enjoy.”

Alvarado used blue and black ink to create two prints, which were subsequently tiled on an 8′ x 10′ canvas. Otterness expressed gratitude for the gift of this inspiring artwork:

“I am so proud and thrilled that Felix contributed to a project that will serve our events and school spirit for years to come!”



Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, director of marketing & communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 375 acres, Mount Madonna School (MMS) is a diverse learning community dedicated to creative, intellectual, and ethical growth. MMS supports its students in becoming caring, self-aware, discerning and articulate individuals; and believe a fulfilling life includes personal accomplishments, meaningful relationships and service to society. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville. Founded in 1979.

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