teacher seeks students
to take part in mural project
Animal Shelter, Madison Dog Park
(May 2008) Art and animals go hand-in-hand,
art teacher Stacy Hardesty-Gray demonstrates. This summer, Osgood, Ind.,
resident Hardesty-Gray will continue her mural program at the Jefferson
County Animal Shelter and Madison Dog Park. Its a project she
began last year. She invites children of all ages to develop their art
skills while sprucing up the community.
The animal shelter and dog park were instinctive places for Hardesty-Gray
to play host to her fifth mural project.
Kids are drawn to animals, said Hardesty-Gray,
41. When she saw the bare Jefferson County Animal Shelter building,
she knew it was a place that needed something.
Hardesty-Gray, who has been teaching at Jac-Cen-Del Elementary for 10
years, initiated her first painting project when she saw a long, blank
restaurant wall four years ago. She gathered local kids together, and
they painted a mural on the restaurant wall. Since then, she and different
groups of local youth have continued painting. Theyve added color
to a nursing home, an animal shelter and the fairgrounds.
The theme of the mural corresponds to the location. The group painted
cows and sheep at the fairgrounds in 2007, and Hardesty-Gray plans to
paint different breeds of dogs at the Dog Park this summer.
She continues the program because todays kids dont have
very many creative outlets.
Theres nothing for children to do artistically. Its
all sports, she said.
Connie Brink, whose child has been involved with Hardesty-Grays
program for three years, agrees. At Lydia Middleton Elementary School,
her daughter has art classes for only half of the school year. Brinks
daughter, Sara, has 30 minutes of art class but just once per week during
Sara was interested in the mural program because she enjoys painting.
Hardesty-Grays program has helped Sara develop her painting skills.
I learned about different types of paint, shading, and stuff like
that, Sara, 11, said.
Hardesty-Gray charges a $35 fee for each youth participant. Brink said
she has seen improvement since Saras first painting of a golden
She has gotten a lot better at both drawing and painting,
Brink, 43, said. I hope she keeps it up.
Hardesty-Gray is planning for this summers youth painters to paint
dogs for the Madison Dog Park. Sara is unsure what she will paint for
the Dog Park, but she is looking forward to the summer project.
The Dog Park opened in 2007 and has been pretty popular so far,
according to Harold Lakeman, Madison Parks and Recreation Director.
The park is separated into two parts to accommodate small and large
dogs. Dog owners pay $12 total for a Dog Park pass and must have their
pets vaccinations up to date in order to use the park at their leisure.
In 2007, more than 100 registered Dog Park members used the facility.
Such a positive response in the parks first year reaches toward
Lakemans goal of letting dogs run in a contained space rather
than around the city of Madison.
Lakeman is looking forward to the art that Hardesty-Gray and her painters
will add to the Madisons first Dog Park.
Their work was fabulous from what I saw, Lakeman said. The
animals looked like the real thing. Theyll make a great addition
to the park.
Hardesty-Gray shows no signs of stopping her murals. Her goal is to
put more art out in the open. Unlike a museum, murals present art to
the public on their own turf. Community members can view the youth painting
projects from their cars.
Galleries can seem stuffy. These murals arent confined to
a building, she said. They reach a wider audience.
Hardesty-Gray intends for more murals to pop up, transforming dull walls
to lively buildings. She keeps her eyes open for spots that could be
Im always looking for bare spots in the community, walls
that scream to have something painted on them, she said.
Stacy Hardesty-Gray is available for private
and group lessons. Youth ages eight through high school are invited
to her mural program. For more information, contact her at email@example.com
or (812) 839-3585.
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