Student-Created Mural Captures Community Spirit

Student-Created Mural Captures Spirit of Community at Wyandot
Posted on 02/28/2019
This is the image for the news article titled Student-Created Mural Captures Spirit of Community at Wyandot

photo collage of Wyandot community nuralYou can’t help but notice the beautiful mural in the cafeteria at Wyandot Early Childhood School. After all, it is 20’ high by 80’ long – and includes a paper doll representation of each student and staff member, nearly 700 in all.

The mural is based on the best-selling picture book “All are Welcomethat celebrates diversity and gives encouragement and support to all kids.

Wyandot Principal Liz Gruber discovered the book last summer and immediately knew that it would be perfect to build community at the school.

“With Wyandot bringing in new preschoolers, adding second grade and bringing on new staff members this year, ‘All are Welcome’ is the perfect mantra for us,” said Gruber.

Gruber started the new school year by reading the book to students in each of the school’s neighborhoods (aka hallways). She also brought the book to the school’s art teacher, Sherry Federle and asked if she could help with a new mural that represented everyone at Wyandot.

“I was honored when asked to take on this project,” said Federle. “But I can’t take credit for the mural. I just took the concept to the kids and let them create.”

As with most art projects, the mural was not just a lesson in art. Federle’s students learned about planning, diversity, working together, problem-solving and more.

Art workshops with the students included sessions on planning what the overall mural would look like and on things you could do with paper (like curling or twisting that could be used to create the paper figure of themselves). In another lesson, classes read “The Colors Us” to learn about diversity and that everyone is really just a different shade of brown. Classes even learned about careers as they talked about designing the clothes the dolls would wear.

After four or five rotations in art, the students’ paper figures were ready for hanging. Sherry and her husband spent 60 hours over Christmas break to install the mural.

And when the school building portion of the mural fell down from the cafeteria wall, Federle challenged her students to brainstorm ideas to come up with a solution. The students rose to the challenge, coming up with the idea of using magnets to help the school building stick to the metal wall.

“One of the coolest parts of the whole project was when I took the classes on an ‘I Spy’ field trip to the cafeteria,” said Federle. “It was so neat to see the excitement when they saw the finished project – and to see themselves and their classmates as part of the Wyandot community.” The field trip had students work together to try to identify items on the ‘I Spy’ clue list, and then take photos on IPads as documentation.

There are still a few finishing touches that need to be made to the mural. Yesterday, staff members created their paper dolls to hang on the wall. Federle also plans to add a description that tells the story of creating the mural, as well as key to help find each classroom of students on the wall.

Finally, to capture the true meaning of “All are Welcome,” the phrase will be translated in all of the languages represented at Wyandot and added to the mural.

“We shared the mural project with the author and illustrator of “All is Welcome” and they loved it as much as we do,” said Gruber.