DEPUE — DePue Schools hosted an open house event Thursday evening to show off the library’s new, fresh look.
One of the high school’s art classes was chosen this year to take on the year-long project of designing and painting a large wall mural made up of classic storybook themes, as well as additional character pieces that were precisely arranged around sections of the library’s walls.
It was once a long-time goal to upgrade the schools’ library. DePue art instructor Kathy Ballard explained about three years ago she was talking with school librarian Katie Sment and they got on the topic of sprucing up the library.
“At the time, the shelving was gray metal stacks that took up a lot of space, making the seating and study area cramped and giving a tired, dingy look to the room,” Ballard said. “My original idea was to put colorful painted panels at the end of the (book stacks) to brighten up the room, using characters and themes from children’s literature to decorate the panels.”
Within the next year, however, school officials decided to use funds that had been raised in previous years for the purpose of revamping the library. The funds purchased new carpet, paint and shelving.
From there, Ballard began her search for the right class of art students for the mural project.
“I found the best combination of workers and artists in the third hour, high school class this year,” she said. “Twenty-four students worked the entire year on this project.”
The students split into groups and determined which characters they wanted to create.
Sophomore Oscar Garcia, one of the students from the class, talked about how some days were frustrating because getting drawings to look just as he wanted was sometimes a challenge. He said asking friends for advice is what helped him through the tough times.
“I like how we could do something for our library here, and we will remember the experience for the rest of our lives,” he said.
Sophomore Selena Campos agreed and added it feels great to be able to give something back to the community.
“A lot of people don’t take pride in our school because it’s so small, but I feel like we can pass this onto future generations to enjoy the school more. It’s very inspiring to younger kids, who will take pride in the school,” she said.
This project taught more than just art techniques; students also learned dedication, time management and problem solving in the midst of working up to the finish line. They gave up after-school hours and weekends to complete tasks and worked hard at their designs until they came out just as planned.
Most of the character pieces were completed at the end of the third school semester. To this day, all that needs to be completed are details on the Hogwarts Academy portion of the mural and a final seal coat over the entire wall. The complete project is expected to be finished by the end of the year, as planned.
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