Bringing Art to the Walls of Schools
The Imagination Mural Project strives to create more colorful, stimulating learning spaces in the Eugene community. In January 2017, we partnered with local muralist Bayne Gardner to create a mural at Pearl Buck Center: a program, school, and service that offers people with disabilities and their families quality choices and support to achieve their goals.
Picture a crew of two and three-year-old preschoolers with buckets of paint and a big, white wall. And now suppose that their teacher has actually told them to color that wall like the ocean, with “dancing dolphins,” “singing seahorses” and “tip top turtles.” That’s exactly what happened during the second week of January, when iii partnered with local muralist Bayne Gardner in the most recent of eleven Imagination Mural Projects to create more colorful, stimulating, public learning spaces, this time in Eugene’s Pearl Buck Preschool.
In their own words, “Pearl Buck Preschool program provides specialized preschool, parenting education, and case management/outreach to families led by parents with cognitive difficulties whose children are at risk. Our program’s aim is that the children fulfill their development potential and enter school ready to learn and that their parents provide a safe, stable home.”
At iii, we believe that enriching education in the community is of the utmost importance; that's why we support organizations like Pearl Buck that center on helping children develop into their full potential. We like to think that murals encourage kids to be kids—to play, imagine and create. And with the guidance and passion of artists like Bayne Gardner, we aim to reach out to children who are craving exposure to art.
After the mural was completed, Gardner described his excitement of having been able to tell the preschoolers, “here’s some paint, go at it and go make a mess!” He said, “I love this project because it shows kids who might be interested in art a different avenue that they might not know exists. You can be a mural artist: a person who paints walls for a living.”
Now, if you walk into Pearl Buck, you will find a humongous whale and a host of sea creatures swimming around you. The children get to feel that they have been a part of building their own school, and they can find inspiration when they look at what they have created with their own hands. As Gardner put it, public art and art education like the Imagination Mural Project “builds more of a vibrant community. I think art creates a bigger picture of a community.”