For the sixth consecutive summer selected art students have devoted two weeks of their summer vacation to paint reproductions of master works on the walls of Merrill High School. Through an Honors Art Workshop, 10 students have reproduced Master Artists’ works on the rough brick walls throughout the school.
This year, in addition to the 10 wall murals, two students have worked collaboratively to reproduce an 8′ X 10′ mural mosaic composed of 20 individual 2′ X 2′ individual panels. Lewis Lavoie, an internationally known Canadian artist, granted permission for the two students to reproduce his original Adam-One Blood, Many Nations, a United Nations Mural Mosaic completed in 2007. The original mural, measuring 16′ X 20′, is made up of 20 4′ X 4′ panels, each representing a different nation.
Rachael Plautz and Michelle Gervais, who have each painted two murals during previous years, accepted the challenge cheerfully after art teachers Linda DeBroux and Jean English, Honors Art Coordinators, approached them with the idea. The two spent numerous hours preparing their sketches prior to the week long workshop. Rachael and Michelle worked individually on sketches for the project, then met at First Street Coffee Station to compare drawings and make sure that the individual pieces would work together before they would need to transfer them to the prepared panels for painting.
Since the 20 individual panels are all portraits, it is fortunate that both girls are interested in-and good at-painting faces. Each girl completed 10 portraits for the finished mosaic.
The goal of the Merrill High School Art Department is to create a gallery-like environment throughout the school and to familiarize the entire student body, as well as the community, with well known artists and their paintings. At the completion of this summer’s workshop, a total of 70 murals will be found throughout the first and second floors of the building. Not only do these murals introduce the student body to art history, they also create a visually stimulating atmosphere.
The selection process for the Honors Art Mural Painting workshop is a prestigious one. Junior and Senior students are selected by their art teachers to participate in the workshop by demonstrating outstanding artistic talent and commitment over the previous school year.
Students must complete a year of intense study of drawing and painting and show an excellent work ethic along with evidence of being able to commit to this huge endeavor. This year’s muralists include Rachael Plautz, Michelle Gervais, Rachel Mueller, Hannah Ziemke, Myria Kludy, Maria DeBroux, Olivia Heitz, Kristen Verdoorn, Nichole Prochnow, Kayla Leavitt, Bethany Detert, and Brenna Spoehr.
A sixth annual open house and reception honoring the 12 student mural artists will be held Feb. 5,2011, at the high school. An alumni art show will also be held. All MHS art alumni who are practicing artists, in art-related careers, or students in the arts are invited to exhibit.