They say the third time is a charm. But when it comes to creating public art in their neighborhood, every time has been a charm for Willard Elementary School.
For the third year in a row, students from Willard designed a large-scale mural for display along East 30th Street. The first year it was on the side of the (now closed) Fairgrounds Hardware Store. Last year a painting of the Iowa State Capitol in all four seasons was painted on a wall of the S&H Electric Company.
This year the mural is on the grounds of the Iowa State Fairgrounds, directly across the street from last year’s artwork.
And unlike in past years, when the work of a single student was chosen as the winning design, this year’s creation was very much a team effort as more than a dozen students contributed bits and pieces of the State Fair to form an image of the whole.
Students participating in this year’s design were Henry Orellana-Rivas, Jean Vargas-Garcia, Emmanual Garcia, Ryland Brass, Anish Poudel, Cali Jackson, Nova-Jo Schwartz, Abigail Pacas-Quinones, Destani Rogers, Candice Kain, Marleen Rodriguez, Jae’la Davison, and Gwen Gregg.
On Saturday morning Willard students grabbed their brushes – as principal Julie Kruse, art teacher Lindsie Manzer along with other teachers and parents were on hand to lend a hand – and the design came to life on a fence next to the volunteer and will call building on the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
All three Willard murals are seen literally by millions, not only passersby throughout the year but also people from across Iowa and around the country who will head to the Iowa State Fair in August.
As in years past, Dave Diers of Logan Construction was a quarterback of sorts for the team effort. Two years ago he set the wheels in motion that led to Willard’s first mural, and remains committed to seeing opportunities for student-created public art become a reality.
In the case of Willard’s newest mural, a big thanks to the Davis Brown Law Firm, Great Western Bank, Jordison Construction, Keystone Trucking and Life Change Church for providing financial assistance to help students realize their goal of brightening up their neighborhood.