Beginning in January, artist Billy Gray, part of Two Waters Arts Alliance After School Art Club, guided Key Peninsula Middle School students in the creation of an outdoor mural showcasing the flora and fauna of Key Peninsula to grace the entrance to the school. Assisting Gray were professional artist Kathleen Gray and volunteers Kathy Barrett, Sue Stuhaug, Stephanie Flintoff, Molly Duttry, Molly Swensen, and Tacoma Pierce County Health Department volunteer Brittany Langdon.
The project reached fruition with the unveiling of the mural on a sunny Thursday afternoon in April. Its audience consisted of many parents whose kids made it possible and the Peninsula School District board of directors who, after the unveiling, held their special meeting for the public in the school's commons.
PSD Superintendent Chuck Cuzzetto added to the festive event by presenting a weatherproof plaque commemorating the unveiling. Everyone agreed that the mural is beautiful and nicely representative of the school's support of the environment.
Peninsula High School junior Molly Duttry took photos, collected quotes, and even helped out on the mural project the art club kids had been working on for five weeks every Tuesday.
"The kids were all excited to be finishing up adding the last details," she said.
“I like this project because in the beginning I did not know how to paint at all," said eighth grader Aerrow Cruz, "but this project taught me how to paint and have fun while hanging out with friends. The project also teaches teamwork and working together to accomplish a common goal without worrying about the little things."
TWAA president Molly Swensen said that watching students work on the project was inspiring. “They were taught the elements of painting a large-size mural from transferring patterns, putting down base color to putting on finishing detail. Some students told me they had never done any painting or drawing as large as this and they learned a lot,” she said.” The KPMS mural will be a legacy for the school as well as the students for years to come."
KPMS sixth grader Johnathan Beal said the project was enjoyable. “I like doing things like this because I'm doing it for other people and not just me," he said. Classmate Sarah Catterall said, “I want to be an artist; this made me want to be one. I hope it inspires potential artists to pursue their dreams."
Billy Gray noted, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time working on the KPMS mural. We had a lot of fun, yet worked hard. Students learned a few things about handling acrylic paints, various brushes and blenders with the use of light, shadow and color. All in all, a great experience."
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