All photos: ML Harris
Board by board, the first splashes of color are getting ready to go up at the South Whidbey Community Center as the first of a series of student-painted murals is being readied for the outside walls of The Center.
The wood panels that make up the mural are part of The Readiness To Learn Summer Mural Program with Youth 2020. “It’s a jump-start to what we hope will be a series of murals to transform the outside of The Center to reflect the creativity and spirit happening here,” explains Gail Lavassar, Executive Director for Readiness To Learn, which runs The Center.
A few test drawings hints at what's to come!
The murals will provide a colorful accent to the former middle-school campus, which remains partially closed due to COVID-19. The panels are individual to each young artist, and the panels will hang together as a collective installation.
Professional Artist Melissa Koch, Create Space's Gretchen Lawlor, and Jesse Levesque, Curator and Placemaker for Readiness To Learn, are working with several local students to create the wood panels that will make up the mural, which will be installed across from Wild Crow Pie Company headquarters at The Center.
Youth artists include Liv Johnson, Lily Fisher, and Roslyn Donier. The artists and their mentors have been working all summer on the panels and hope to install them in October.
Planning the final versions!
As Placemaker for The Center, Levesque is bringing together creatives from Whidbey Island to bring a new visual style to the campus that reflects The Center’s emergence as a creative and supportive member of the community. She says, “The long-term vision is to have an on-going mural program where youth can work together with local professionals to revitalize many of The Center’s walls,” adding that “Murals have the power to elevate people’s experiences of all spaces at The Center through intellectual, emotional, and physical engagement.”
Through this work with youth, Readiness To Learn can bring art and storytelling to many more of the outdoor public spaces on The Center's campus, while teaching skills, and introducing well-known and emerging professional creative people, to local youth, and to the community-at-large.
Levesque adds, “The Center walls will become an interactive and creative experience, as well as an outside destination for the public to see.”
The project has already drawn the attention of other area artists. Filmmaker Patricia Friedman is creating a short documentary with these youth and about the program for release later this fall.