Faces of peace coming to Wayzata East Middle School
Before the end of the school year Nelson Mandela, Elie Wiesel and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will become permanent residents at Wayzata East Middle School. Or at least their faces will.
Earlier this month, East art students began working with art teacher Sandra Woodhull and artist Ruth Mason to convert the walls of the stairway near the school’s main entrance into a permanent piece of art.
Between now and the end of the school year, groups of students will work for an hour after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays to complete the mural, which Mason said will feature some of the great names and faces of “Peace,” the mural’s theme.
“This is something Sandy has been planning for a long time,” Mason, who is an instructor at the Minnetonka Center for the Arts, said. “We met a couple of times last summer to go over plans and ideas.”
Woodhull put the word out that students were needed for the project – it was announced in art classes, as well as in the school’s art club. Students then applied to be a part of the program, something Mason said was a pretty important aspect of making sure the mural is a success.
“You want to make sure you have kids that care and want to be a part of it,” she said. “So applying to be a part of it just shows that extra step of dedication.”
In all, about a dozen students will help in the creation of the mural. Mason said that while they technically have until the end of the school year to finish, a completion date of some time in March is more likely.
A typical crew includes Woodhull, Mason and three students. Sometimes, however, depending on the day and what other activities are going on, the student portion of the crew shrinks a little.
Jan. 17 was one of those days, with only eighth-graders Frederick Lin and E’Angel on hand.
Both said they were drawn to the project by Woodhull’s in-class announcement.
“I thought it would be fun,” E’Angel said. “Also, I didn’t think there’d be a whole lot of people who would want to stay after school to do it.”
Both students’ artistic endeavors reach beyond the classroom, primarily sketching, but so far they both are enjoying a little further exposure to painting.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Frederick said. “It’s starting to come together.”
The fact that the project is starting to come along isn’t lost on the rest of the student body.
“We have a lot of students that come by to check things out,” Mason said. “They want to know why they can’t just hop in and start painting to help out.
“The one thing they don’t understand is that it’s not going to be done overnight,” she said. “But there’s definitely a lot of excitement and anticipation building as it gets further along.”
For now the work includes painting inside the designated lines of the borders and shapes that adorn the design with predetermined colors that are noted in each area.
Once that’s complete, the faces can be added.
“For the faces we’ll be creating our own stencil-like outlines using a projector,” Mason said. “And then the plan is to have the students paint the faces.”