Alexandria Zettler is an FSU Art Education/Art Therapy doctoral student, defending her dissertation this spring, 2014. During the 2011-2012 school year, she returned to her hometown, Cedar Key, to write her prospectus. Because Cedar Key School (k-12) does not offer creative arts electives, she started an after-school art program at the local Arts Center teaching drawing, photography, and painting to middle-high school students and art appreciation to the local brownie-girl scout troops. That spring, 2012, her small group of students asked if they could paint a mural on a boarded-up section of a local street in Cedar Key, Second Street. The theme was “Kids Painting Kids Painting a Mural of the Flora and Fauna of Cedar Key.” The mural was designed using silhouettes of the children in order to make everyone feel successful with their painting abilities. Zettler and the students met once a week for six weeks to work on the mural. At the same time the mural was being created, a local high school student wrote a poem about painting on a gray wall, which then later became the poetic representation for the mural. Zettler and the students agreed to paint the poem on their wall in a circular form so that people could spin it and read it. With all of the interesting details to the mural, it has become quite the interactive piece; people photograph friends posing in the silhouettes, spin the poem, and peeking through the wall.
During the 2012-2013 school year, Zettler moved back to Tallahassee and taught at a local charter school, Imagine School Evening Rose, while conducting her dissertation study. She presented a proposal to the Imagine School Evening Rose Parents Teachers Organization to paint the 360 square foot second floor hallway of the Elementary Building with a similar theme to the Cedar Key mural: “Kids Painting a Mural of the Flora and Fauna of Tallahassee.” The idea for the mural was that one end of the hall would be painted the rivers, springs, and swamps at night, with the parks in the middle of the walls, and the State Capitol at the other end of the hall. With the PTO paying for the paint, a few families, students, teachers, staff, including her own family, set to work. Zettler and her oldest daughter drew the images on the walls, traced the silhouettes, outlined the shapes, and added details. The volunteers helped paint the background, filled in the large blocks of color and the silhouettes, and stamped the oak tree leaves. This method of painting allowed the maximum sense of accomplishment for the student volunteers. When teachers, staff, parents, and students returned to school in the fall, they were amazed at the transformation from plain fingerprint covered wall to an expansive, detailed mural. The space was completely transformed.
The Cedar Key mural can be viewed anytime on downtown Second Street and the Tallahassee mural can be viewed before and after school or during school events at the Imagine School Evening Rose.
FSU Department of Art Education is proud of Alexandria and all our students. Please share your news: http://art-design.cvatd.fsu.edu/arted/submit/submit-news/.