Kent students bring global perspective to city park

Included among the eye candy at the opening of the new Town Square Plaza in downtown Kent June 28 will be a piece of art created by Kent-Meridian High School students — a big piece of art.

  • BY Wire Service
  • Tuesday, June 24, 2008 3:39pm
  • News
Kent-Meridian High School senior Michelle Yi

Kent-Meridian High School senior Michelle Yi

Mural represents region’s diversity

Included among the eye candy at the opening of the new Town Square Plaza in downtown Kent June 28 will be a piece of art created by Kent-Meridian High School students — a big piece of art.

Commissioned by the city, Kent-Meridian International Baccalaureate art students painted a mural measuring almost 50-feet long to be displayed at Kent’s newest park. The mural was recently finished and unveiled at a June 11 ceremony at the school, which included a visit by Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke.

The project started in October when Kent Economic Development Director Ben Wolters called Karen Drumheller, head of the Kent-Meridian art department, asking if her class would be interested in painting something for the city.

“The kids all said yes,” the teacher said. “We wanted to do it because we wanted KM to be the ones to do it, not another school.”

Kent-Meridian hosts the district’s International Baccalaureate program, a special high-school program directed at students who desire a more rigorous curriculum with a global focus and want to earn college credit.

Drumheller teaches the program’s art class, consisting of 28 students this year, and she said the proposition offered a perfect project for the ambitious students.

“We started discussing how to design this big project, and we immediately thought to focus on the diversity of our population here at KM,” she said.

The school, like the city of Kent, includes students from many different cultures, the teacher said, so the art students decided to incorporate that idea into the mural.

The theme also fit perfectly with the Baccalaureate program’s global scope.

“There’s a huge focus on looking at the whole world instead of just your own little neighborhood, so it was perfect,” she said.

To represent the prominent ethnic groups at the school and in Kent, the 28 art students went about researching some of the world’s iconic architectural structures to represent 12 different countries. A group of students each worked on one of 12 panels, designing scenes with a prominent structure on each.

“The kids really got to learn a lot about the different countries by doing research on these architectural structures,” Drumheller said.

The tricky part about any collaborative mural project, the teacher said, is combining the panels and making them flow together. But with two months of solid work, the students pulled it off.

“It was a real learning experience for the kids, because even though there are 28 of us all painting different panels, a mural is a joint piece of art. It was a lot of work, but we think it turned out great.”

The students hope the mural’s message will be clear to future Kent passersby.

“The message is to show that all these cultures have been brought together in this one city of Kent,” said junior Jillian Redosendo, 17, who hopes to pursue a future art career. “I loved doing the project because we all got to work together, and I like the idea that everyone’s going to see our mural outside of school.”

To see the Kent-Meridian mural, attend the city’s Town Square Plaza kickoff event 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 28.

Mayor Cooke will dedicate the mural at a 10 a.m. address. Town Square Plaza is located at the corner of Smith Street and Second Avenue in downtown Kent. For more information, visit www.ci.kent.wa.us.

Contact Daniel Mooney at 253-437-6012 or dmooney@reporternewspapers.com.


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