It is only appropriate that the Worcester Arts Magnet School, an elementary school with special programming in the dramatic, musical, and visual arts as well as dance, welcomed nine POW! WOW! artists in 2017. The murals are spread across the low-slung sprawling school, but are predominantly found on the south and east walls.
The school on St. Nicholas Avenue opened in 1961 as a new neighborhood school with nine classrooms and a multi-purpose room. The hope was that it would relieve overcrowding at near-by Clark Street School and Thorndyke Road School. The dual pressures of many families moving out of the center of the city to more suburban environs and the recently completed Great Brook Valley housing project created burgeoning student populations at schools distant from downtown. No sooner was St. Nicholas Avenue School finished before the need for even more classroom spaces became apparent. In 1972, the city completed a $1.4 million addition to the school to again address overcrowding there and at Clark Street School. The population served by the St. Nicholas Avenue School was also changing at the time, as Latino families increasingly moved into the housing projects at Great Brook Valley, which was originally built to serve veterans’ families in the immediate post-war period. In 1992, Worcester Public Schools rechristened the St. Nicholas Avenue School as the Worcester Arts Magnet School as part of school desegregation effort. After becoming a Arts Magnet, the elementary student population, which was once heavily minority, grew to be one of the most integrated and academically successful in the city.