• 70°

Rowan-Salisbury Schools welcomes Chewy with art exhibition in Spencer

SPENCER — North Rowan High School turned its design focus into an art project to celebrate Chewy coming to Rowan County.

A small crowd gathered Wednesday morning to see the product of the project: dozens of pet portraits and a public window display at Park Plaza.

Wednesday’s event has its roots in 2019, when Chewy announced its latest fulfillment center would be in the Salisbury area. North Rowan High had recently finished a project designing shipping container classrooms. Speaking to the crowd Wednesday, North Principal Meredith Williams said that project introduced students to logistics and the school started thinking about how it could “wow” Chewy.

The school talked to Philadelphia-based organization Fresh Artists, and founder Barbara Allen suggested having students create portraits of their pets.

The project became a district-wide call for portraits to be created by students at all grade levels. The idea started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but after the pandemic struck supplies were delivered to students as part of summer art camps.

There were more than 600 submissions, and 66 were made part of the Fresh Artists collection.

The project did not stop there. The design focus at North Rowan kicked in and the idea for the public display of a select few pieces rose to the top. Students also produced a video explaining the project, which visitors could view on iPads Wednesday to explain what they were seeing.

Mazin Merghani, general manager of the local Chewy fulfillment center, attended the presentation and accepted some large-scale prints of some of the pieces to display in the center.

“It’s a very humbling experience,” Merghani told the Post.

Merghani said Spencer Mayor Jonathan Williams, Meredith’s husband, reached out to the company about the project on behalf of the school.

Meredith commended the diversity of the animals, ranging from chickens to ferrets, and the way students brought out the personality of their pets with extra details like a pair of glasses on a dog.

“I just think it’s so fun to look at,” said North art and drama teacher Leigh Ann Alexander. “A lot of times you can even tell this must be the child’s pet because you can see their personalities coming through.”

She had the opportunity to meet some of the pets when remote classes began due to COVID-19.

Alexander connected other art teachers in the county with Fresh Artists for the project and distributed the materials as well.

Alexander said the school has collaborated with Fresh Artists before, but this project was larger because it was district-wide. She said the biggest part of the project was documenting each piece before shipping them to Fresh Artists and eventually returning the originals to the kids.

Rising North Rowan 10th graders Abbie Miller and Khoron Miller created the video explaining the project. Abbie submitted pieces for the project as well.

Khoron said the project was fun and he enjoyed a bit of spotlight time.

“I feel great,” Abbie said. “It made me feel like a good student, like a leader.”



New COVID-19 positives in Rowan at lowest point since start of pandemic


Rowan Wild’s animal camp makes a comeback at Dan Nicholas Park


Health officials say financial incentives helped vaccination rates; lottery drawing today

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry adopts budget that keeps tax rate flat


Airport Advisory committee endorses plans for expansion at Mid-Carolina Regional

China Grove

China Grove will celebrate 40th Farmers Day with week full of festivities


Pistons win in NBA draft lottery; Hornets will get 11th pick


Officers in Locust arrest drivers who tried to flee; one was on motorcycle reported stolen from Rowan


Panel OKs NC Senate budget bill; Dems pan policy provisions


Letter: Journalist won’t join UNC faculty without tenure


Chase from Mooresville ends with crash at Rowan Mill Road; two charged


Dearmons gift two public art sculptures to city of Kannapolis


Blotter: Woman’s camper stolen from side of I-85


Local scouts sweep NC American Legion awards


As demand lessens slightly, local homebuilders work through challenges to deliver dwellings


Commissioners name Newberry Hall House county’s newest historic landmark


Senate budget uses NC revenue boon on more tax cuts, capital


Livingstone College alumna Quanera Hayes makes U.S. Olympic Team after first-place finish in 400-meter race


Blotter: June 21

Ask Us

Ask Us: What is status of ‘speed table’ on Charles Street in Spencer?


East Rowan High graduate killed in motorcycle crash


Political Notebook: Gov. Cooper vetoes Ford-backed bill allowing firearms at churches that are also schools


Blotter: June 20


Body of fourth tuber, age 7, found in North Carolina river