Inspirational Art

Idaho Falls Mayor Jared Fuhriman and Compass Academy art student and teacher Kendra Handy take a picture in front of their mural they painted to help beautify the city.  
By Joelyn Hansen

When Compass Academy Art Teacher Kendra Handy approached me with an idea back in September I'm not fully sure she knew the magnitude of what she was hoping to accomplish.

Students follow the design plan as they begin the mural
Teacher Kendra Handy answers a question from a student
She wanted her art students to take their skills outside the classroom and beautify an area in the city that is prone to graffiti. At the approval of the chief and the parks and recreation superintendent I gave her a space to beautify -- a wall measuring 50-feet wide and 10-feet high.

This tunnel wall along the Greenbelt (near Sportsman's Park and the new Marriott Hotel) has been a magnet for graffiti over the years as evidenced by the multiple layers of paint colors on the walls. Surprisingly, one of the methods of preventing graffiti is to paint a mural where graffiti often occurs. We're attempting the experiment.

I'm crossing my fingers pretty tight that it works because these 52 kids put a lot of time and talent into this project and I must say that I'm impressed with their work. I think you will be too. 

Team work was definitely required for this project
As a team, these students designed a mural that contains elements reflective of Idaho Falls and it's sister-city, Tokai-Mura, Japan. Days were spent designing and on Thursday the students spent less than 4 hours executing the final piece of the project -- the actual painting.

These kids really took ownership in this project and didn't waste much time getting it done.

A news reporter from Channel 8 stopped by for a quick story on the project and she probably summed it up best when she said, "It's really inspirational!"

Students draw the Japanese person
A finished portion of the mural reflecting the Japanese culture 
A finished portion of the mural reflecting Idaho Falls