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Bicentennial Mural

Students challenged to make
an artistic splash at Madison pool

Mural to portray
various historical events of the city

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(December 2012) – While Madison, Ind.’s bicentennial year may be over, the many celebrations encouraged an enthusiasm for history that has stirred up many creative ideas that continue to enrich the town. One project that got under way in November was a historical mural being painted by area high school students on a warehouse wall that faces the Crystal Beach Swimming Pool. The 107-foot mural will present a timeline of Madison history, beginning in 1939, the year that the pool opened, through 2009, the bicentennial year.
Project organizer Bonnie Peugeot, who teaches art at Trimble County (Ky.) High School, said she is excited that this mural allows students to take their work out of the classroom and into the community. “When you are a young artist, it is fun to share your gift,” she says.

Bonnie Peugeot

Photos by Lela Bradshaw

Bonnie Peugeot (above and
below) directs students as
they prepare to begin work on
the 107-foot mural behind
Crystal Beach Swimming
Pool in Madison, Ind.

Bonnie Peugeot

Trimble County sophomore Sidney Gossom agrees, saying that the project is important to her “because I’m always in Madison. I come to Crystal Beach, and it will be cool to have something I’ve done here.”
The mural is being made possible by a number of area schools and organizations joining together to support the project. The project is being funded by a $1,000 grant from the Madison Bicentennial committee and a $500 grant from the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County grant program. Laura Hodges, president of the Madison City Council, explains that the Bicentennial Committee is “committed to doing projects that will impact the community for years to come.”
Peugeot said she expects the project will draw about 15-20 students from Trimble County and four or five from each of the other participating high schools including: Shawe, Southwestern and Madison. At the end of the project, students will write their reflections, sharing their experiences which will then be collected as part of a booklet. Students who spend 35 hours or more on the mural will be rewarded with a special surprise that Peugeot is keeping under wraps at the moment.
Peugeot said she is enthusiastic about collaborating with her students, adding, “I can honestly say I have a very large number of very talented students.” Art teachers from the various schools will be taking part as well. When the time comes for the addition of final details, Peugeot will be joined by area professional artists to put the finishing touches on the painting.
The Madison Parks Department helped prepare the site for the student’s work by cutting the weeds around the building and power washing the wall to get it ready for the primer. Parks Director Dave Stucker said, “I think it is going to be very interesting just to see the history of Madison.”
Research and planning on the mural has been going on for several months, but the actual work did not begin until November. After the wall was primed, students began sketching the images with permanent markers. The wall is made of corrugated metal, which adds to the challenge. Peugeot describes it as“sort of like drawing on a Ruffle potato chip.”
Once the design outlines are drawn, the colors will be added using exterior house paint. Peugeot explains that the colors will be put on one at a time. For example, all of the black will be painted at once, all of the dark blue at once, and so on. After the colors have been completed, a clear sealant will be applied to protect the mural from the elements. “We have to have it done before Memorial Day,” says Peugeot. “So we’re praying for a mild winter.”
Good weather is important not only to make the outdoor work more pleasant for the artists, but also because it is important that the temperature be warm enough for the paint to go on correctly.
Peugeot and her students have been busy researching the history and fashion of the past 70 years. She believes that her students enjoyed learning about the 1950 Madison team that took home the state basketball championship and says that it was quite a surprise to read about a submarine that went through the town in the 1940s. Peugeot believes that the experience will help the students better understand and appreciate the history of the area saying that the project is “making history real.”
The mural will not only highlight important events from the city’s past, such as the courthouse fire, but will also show the changes in everyday life and fashion as well. “The boys wanted to make there there was a car from each decade,” she said, laughing. Peugeot proposed the idea of showing the evolution in swimsuit styles throughout the years, and careful attention will also be paid to the hairstyles of the people in the mural and the changes in technology from large boom boxes to tiny smart phones.
Hodges said, “I’m excited about it. It’s a wonderful thing that students are taking part of. It’s something they can look at with pride and point to for years to come. It’s such a wonderful thing when citizens take the initiative to do something for the community.”

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