Students in the Club 8 art club at Jemtegaard Middle School have left their mark at Lower Hathaway Park in the form of a painted mural completed May 31. Sponsored by City of Washougal Parks Department, students were given a suggested piece of art and provided surplus city paints.
“I am really proud of these students,” said JMS art teacher and Club 8 leader, Dani Allen. “They were given a drawing as a guide and worked together on alterations to make it their own and create a single vision. They worked together, sharing ideas and even took turns at painting. It was a true team effort!”
According to Suzanne Grover, City of Washougal Parks & Cemetery Manger, the project started when a group of Clark College students offered to paint a mural in town after doing their thesis on how murals deter vandalism. “We recommended they put it on the equipment shed at Lower Hathaway, so they modified their original design to reflect a baseball theme. Time ran out and the group was only able to paint the shed a single color. The project sat for about two years uncompleted.”
That is where Allen and JMS students took up the charge, transformed the design slightly and started painting.
“I was really honored to be able to do this,” said JMS 8th grade student, Aracely Caunas. “I like that this piece will be seen by the next generation. I hope it inspires others to do art.”
“The best part was getting to hang out with other students and be creative,” said Jeanette Lara, JMS 8th grader. “We modified the art together, worked as a team and became friends through the process. It was a valuable experience to listen to each other and work on something from beginning to end.”
This was the first piece of public art any of the students have worked on. “I like that people can just come across it and enjoy it,” Lara said. “My other artwork is only shared with my close family. Not many see it.”
JMS Club 8 students are also currently working on more public art by creatively painting bird houses to be added to the “For the Birds” community bird house art installation next to Washougal City Hall sponsored by Washougal Arts and Culture Alliance.
For the last 10 years, the Washougal Parks Department has had a goal to enhance the individuality of each park with themes. “We hope to eventually draw in local artistic talents to touch each park and public space with a special surprise,” said Grover. “The surprises come in the form of little libraries, art sculptures, unusual benches, or cob features. The mural at Lower Hathaway Park is a dramatic splash of color that brightens a shady spot in the park. The students who worked to create this mural will have a lasting memory of their contribution to our community.”