In May 2015 I was charged with the task of creating a 60-foot mural with 127 kindergarten-2nd graders as part of an Arts Immersion program at West Sedona School in Sedona, Arizona. There were five classes of about 26 students each, who met with four other artists for their other classes on the three days of the Immersion: a sculptor, musician, dancer, and performance artist.
Heh, did you grasp that we had three days to complete this mural?
Well, it turns out kids are like an army. It was no problem for them to plow through 60 feet of stucco wall with paintbrushes and six colors of exterior latex wall paint…with energy to spare. Here’s how it went.
Day 1: The theme of the Immersion was Community, so in groups of three the kids traced each other in different positions and on different levels of the wall.
Day 2: After a lesson on using the paint properly (such as keeping similar colors within a body so it doesn’t break up, and “No lifting your brush out of the cup until you get to the wall!”) the kids were let loose.
Day 3: We only let the kids have small brushes for the final day of painting. All that remained was to fill in the little spaces and holes and try to paint neatly to the lines.
At the end of Day 3, I stayed until it was too dark to paint any more, cleaning up edges, making decisions about areas that seemed unfinished, and generally trying to highlight the amazing spirit in the kids’ painting as radiantly as possible!
Uh, not to mention cleaning 75 brushes. For the second day in a row.
I began to fantasize about hiring kids to work in the studio, letting them start paintings that I get to finish! How inspiring to witness the brilliance of the child’s creative spirit unleashed!