This story was written by Rosemary Leonetti.
After successfully enlisting students to complete a mural
project this summer at Georgia Park
in the West End of Long Beach, Denise
Collins, an art teacher at Lindell and West schools, hopes to continue to put student volunteers to work completing displays
for vacant storefronts.
The project began when Rick Hoffman and Gabrielle Tomicick, two
members of the West End Neighbors Association, contacted Collins to ask her if
she would be willing to enlist students to work on a mural at Georgia Park. When
she realized the scope of the project — a 40-foot mural — Collins contacted her
friend Ron Rundo. A professional muralist whose daughter attends West School, Rundo
gladly volunteered to help supervise the project.
After reaching out to her
students, and also rounding up neighborhood children who were playing at the
park, Collins was able to get more than 30 children involved in the project.
With many eager hands helping out, they finished the entire mural in about a
“Ron was a wonderful teacher,” Collins said. “Not only did
the children have the satisfaction of using their talents to make a lasting
contribution to their neighborhood, but they also learned so much about the
mural process from him.”
This project was a natural fit for Collins, a Long Beach resident, who has been
helping her students form community connections with their artwork for some
Her West School students have been involved in creating holiday window
displays for Rose and Eye
, a women's boutique in the West End. They also have their
artwork on display at the Diner by the Sea.
Her Lindell students maintain a
rotating display of artwork at the Long Beach railroad station. Collins is
looking forward to collaborating with the West End Neighbors Association to
involve even more local students in window display projects during the course
of the year.
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