Echoing in the halls of Lost Creek Elementary School can be heard “oohs” and “ahs” about the two new murals three students at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC) created.
Art students Vivian Hansen, Bria Hill and Jordyn Lloyd, along with Cynthia Phillips-Sabla, assistant professor of art at the College, worked together for three weeks in April to create the beautiful artwork now donning the walls of two areas of the school.
One of the murals titled “Let your imagination grow” is designed to spark creativity. With an open book and a winding yellow brick road, seven beloved book characters wrap around two walls. The mural serves as a visual representation of Lost Creek’s commitment to reading. The characters include Greg, from the “Diary of a Wimpy Kid;” Harry Potter; Lorax; Maxx, from “Where the Wild Things Are;” Peter Pan; and Tinkerbell.
“Working collaboratively with my professor and talented fellow students was a treasured experience, which brought its own artistic challenges and rewards,” said Lloyd of Grand Forks, North Dakota. “My absolute favorite part of the experience was the constant reaction [while we were painting] from the young students, though the faculty was equally excited. It was a humbling and uplifting experience.”
The mural is strategically located at one of the high traffic areas at the school: outside the library and at the exit where the buses release students. For several years, school librarian Monica Zimmerman wanted something in the blank space.
“One of the PTO [Parent Teacher Organization] parents told me about Cynthia and the rest is history. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the project. It is just awesome,” explained Zimmerman.
The second mural on the gym wall depicts the school’s mascot, the lion. Complete with a flowing mane and a Lost Creek headband, it represents a competitive school spirit.
“I have worked on two other mural projects in my hometown, and this project will be a good one to include in my portfolio,” said Hill, of St. Louis, Missouri. “The reactions from the kids made the whole experience worthwhile.”
The SMWC studio art classes introduces students to visual analysis, design principles, composition and creativity, in an increasingly image-oriented culture.
Phillips-Sabla said it was a great experience for everyone. “One of the things I try to teach my students is ‘real world’ knowledge. As working artists, they need to learn how to communicate with potential clients in order to understand their inspiration, plan and bring a project to fruition. It is always a great feeling when you can use your skills as an artist to make others smile.”