Making Mural Magic
Trimble Co. art students
make progress on
Crystal Beach mural
Mural will depict a chronology
of Madison’s history
(November 2013) – “It would be nice to get rid of that ugly wall.”
Bonnie Peugeot of Madison, Ind., often heard this remark concerning a large gray slab that faces the swimming area at Crystal Beach Pool. Eventually, a friend suggested a mural would be a vast improvement over the weather stains. Peugeot thought it would be a perfect way for her art students at Trimble County High School to flex their creativity while serving their community.
Peugeot, now in her 12th year of teaching at Trimble County, believes art and community service go hand in hand. “People need to know art is what makes a difference,” she said. “Nothing on this planet is done without art.”
Photo by Vanessa Torline
From left, Charlie Davis, Emily
Tingle, and Sidney Gossom
present their concept sketch of
the mural (pictured below).
The Trimble County Art Club is currently in the process of painting a mural of their own design at Crystal Beach. Titled, “The Bicentennial,” work depicts a chronological progression of Madison history from the 1930s to today. The final image will consist of more than 100 painted photographs of important landmarks and events, such as Hinkle’s Sandwich Shop and the filming of the 1959 movie “Some Came Running.” Figures in changing swimwear represent the evolution of fashion over time.
Under Peugeot’s supervision, the Trimble County art club students submitted a written proposal for the mural to the Madison Chamber of Commerce. Sidney Gossom, 16, collaborated with other students to research Madison history and sketch a concept design in less than three days.
The students then presented their design to the Jefferson County Historical Society and the Community Foundation of Madison and Jefferson County. Two weeks later, the Madison Area Chamber of Commerce approved a $1,500 grant to fund expenses for paint and other materials.
Some students admitted to joining the art club in order to bulk up their college scholarship applications with community service hours, only to discover their sincere interest in fine art and the mural project. “I actually ended up enjoying it a lot,” said junior Emily Tingle, 16.
“It looks really cool (on applications),” said 17-year-old senior Charli Davis. “Not everyone gets the chance to work on something like this.”
Since the students began painting in November 2012, Indiana weather has challenged the art club’s goal of completing the mural by next summer. The cold of the winter months numbed their hands, while the summer heat caused paint to crack upon drying. But even in these difficult conditions, Peugeot said, “The kids are willing to work.”
In addition to offering her students a way to perform community service, Peugeot has created an incentive program to reinforce her students’ motivation: If a student logs 35 hours of work on the mural, he becomes eligible to participate in a private pool party at Crystal Beach next summer. If they work more than 60 hours, Peugeot will cook a gourmet dinner for them. For those who log more than 90 hours, she is planning a secret surprise.
Peugeot’s students painted through the summer during Crystal Beach’s operating season. They said they are grateful for the community’s positive response to their project. “People love the bright colors next to the pool and the Kentucky hills,” said Gossom, adding that guests at the pool respected their work.
Tingle said the community’s enthusiasm makes painting the mural more satisfying. “It’ll be nice to come back to Madison 15 years from now and say, ‘I worked on that when I was a teenager,’ ” she said.
Although only Gossom intends to study art after high school in pursuit of a career in landscape design, Davis and Tingle foresee art remaining an important part of their lives. “There will be a lot of arts and crafts,” said Davis, who plans to become a preschool teacher. Tingle wants to study psychology, and the possibility of combining her field with art interests her.
“The Bicentennial” mural is still far from finished. As participating students come and go, the Trimble County art club students sometimes worry about meeting their summer deadline. The students invite community members of all ages to paint Madison history with them. “We’d love people to help and rally behind us,” said Gossom.
“We aren’t using scaffolding,” Peugeot added, “so we can definitely use some tall people.” The height of the 8x110-foot mural forces the art to get creative with their painting techniques.
The students enjoy painting the mural during busy downtown events, such as the Madison Chautauqua Festival of Art, in order to engage the community through visibility. They said they hope the mural becomes a fun way to bridge Jefferson and Trimble counties.
Peugeot said she would particularly welcome participation from graduates of Madison area schools while they visit from college. Parents may also bring their children to make a grass border using their handprints.
• Anyone interested in helping paint the mural may contact Bonnie Peugeot at (812) 493-4077.
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