WIP: Kate Mitchell Mural!

I have a huge WIP to share with you this week: a 24′ long mural! A little shy of a month ago I was hired to design and paint a mural for an elementary school. It was in honor of their successful community garden and the idea was to kick it off on the very appropriate earth day. They wanted me to design it in such a way that the kids could all come out and help paint. I would have loved to help paint a mural as a kid and was delighted to make it possible for them.

Get all the details, full sized photos, and the back story after the jump!

The garden has done a great job bringing the school together as a community in just one year. You see about 90% of the kids are bused in, so the parents aren’t there day in and day out picking up the kiddos from school. The garden though, each weekend, the kids bring their parents back to the school to help grow food for their lunches. It’s had an amazing impact on school pride! And this last month, a group of kids won a scholarship (I think it was a scholarship) to go garden with the Obama’s at the White House! It’s really turned the kids’ attitude toward food, gardening, and their school around!

There was definitely reason to celebrate and commemorate their first growing season’s success! A mural was in order. Just like the garden, they wanted the kids to be able to take ownership of the mural just like they did the garden. I started out by asking if the teachers could have the kids draw what they want to be in the mural. They had a ton of great ideas and here’s what the final design looked like:

With the help of the project’s coordinator, Kristen Loria, I dived the wall into a 1×1 foot grid and labeled each square with a column number and row letter.

From there it was a straightforward (though long) process of transferring the design. It took about 9 hours when it was all said and done.

Well, 9 hours and coffee! Here’s the print out of my design gridded out.

I took a picture of myself. It was raining.

Here it is about 1/3 of the way done.

Using the grid method we were able to get the kiddos started. Each area was color coded. Which the insider take is that I was up until 4am printing out the grid squares on card stock for them. And then got up at 7am to got set up for the first class of kids at 8:30. The kids did awesome asking for the right color for each square. Which is good because I was sleeeeeep deprived!

After the first few classes, which cycled through in 20 minute blocks each. We had over 300 kids come paint from 8:30am to 3pm. It was nuts. And awesome!

A couple of hours and 100 kids later.

They were pros! The 4th and 5th graders were put to work filling in areas that needed paint and working on the sky.

Here it is at the end of the day! What a beautiful mess!

We’re going to have a community painting day either this Sunday or next weekend. If you live in Ames, get updates on the upcoming rain day (originally was scheduled for Saturday) on Facebook here.

There will be much more crafty goodness next week! Until then, happy crafting!


2 thoughts on “WIP: Kate Mitchell Mural!

  1. What an exciting and well conceived project.  Your design is beautiful and I love the way you gave the children what they needed to be a successful part of the project.  Give yourself a big pat on the back.  I’ll be linking to this in my blog later this week (I have a weakness for murals so they are a recurring theme).

  2.  I had always wanted you to paint on a mural when you were growing up.  Thanks for making it so these kids could have a successful and fun time painting.  You never know how this will inspire them to continue painting on their own.  Great job Kristin!!!

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