Minter Elementary School students Natalia Scheel and Logan Ridegway blur past the school-front mural recently. Photo by Scott Turner, KP News

The front entrance of Minter Creek Elementary is a busy place. Cars drop off and pick up students for school, families walk through the doors for sports practice, and meetings draw community members inside. Inviting them it all, with vivid color, is the mural in front of the school created by students and local volunteers.

Completed in June 2012, the Minter mural contains artwork from every attending student during the 2011/12 school year.

According to then AIS Director for Two Waters Arts Alliance Lauren Littleton, the mural “reads left to right and is symbolically set up to start at the small end with our community while enlarging to the opposite end with our continent and the Earth.”

Before the reveal was even a possibility, connections needed to happen. The idea of creating a mural existed at Two Waters.

“We had local artist Tweed Meyer who wanted to bring art to the community but no place to make it happen” Littleton said.

At the same time, previous third-grade Minter teacher Susan Stone wanted to bring a project to the school that involved all students. “It was all about sharing ideas and talking that really got this mural off the ground,” said Littleton who credits Minter parent Merrilee Kennedy with bridging the two camps.

The scope of the project not only involved finding appropriate supplies but also securing funding. Harrison Homes, Parker Paint, Rodda Paint, Pro Build, and Home Depot provided materials and experience. Local groups, including Key Peninsula Lion’s Club, gave time and monetary support. Individuals and families donated money along with the Bobbi Frankel memorial fund set up to honor the former Minter art teacher.

By November 2011, ideas were cemented in sketches and a theme picked to underscore the project.

“We wanted to focus on students understanding their place in the community and how they belonged so the theme became ‘My Place in the Universe,’” Littleton added.

Meyer worked closely with the students and wanted the entire experience to feel like being in an artist’s studio. Each class was assigned space in one area within the mural to create a drawing that represented local, regional, state, country or planet scenery.

Third-grade Minter student Makenna Wedel (who was in first grade at the time) drew a fish in a river and recounts her favorite part being that she “got to paint and draw.”

Care was also taken to preserve the mural for future students, parents and community members to enjoy. The project was done on Hardie Board which resists peeling, and the Peninsula School District sealed it with a topcoat to resist harsh weather conditions. This was good news for Minter parent Crystal Wedel who remembers the old surface as generic and faded. She thinks the mural is a unique way to decorate the space, and her children, Zach and Mckenna, both point out their contributions to visiting family.

The connection and community spirit behind the mural was so strong that Two Waters teamed with art teacher Chris Bronstad to create an interior mural at Key Peninsula Middle School. Finished in 2013, the theme of this mural is “My Future Self” and Principal Jeri Goebel adds that current AIS Director for Two Waters, Kathleen Gray, “is going to start an outside mural project with our art club,”

Bringing art to the Key Peninsula continues to be a long range goal for Two Waters. Littleton hopes to make the KP a mural destination where all can enjoy community art.

Visit the Minter mural to see where it all started and twowaters.info to get involved.

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