After months of preparation and planning for a commemorative mural, some students at Indianola Informal K-8 School finally got the opportunity April 1 to put some paint on the front wall.
On their fingers and faces, too.
Even April Sunami, one of the artists collaborating with teachers, staff and students on “Roots and Wings: Celebrating Renaissance at Indianola Informal K-8 School,” got in on the inadvertent face-painting experience.
Sunami didn’t mind the minor cleanup at all. She’s not only mentoring the project, along with Queen Brooks, but also is the parent of River and Ella, two students at the school.
“I feel really grateful,” Sunami said after she, Brooks and the students took a break from bracing temperatures that day. “I can just kind of contribute to the wider community this way.”
The team planning the mural for the front face of the nearly 50-year-old building at 251 E. Weber Road in Columbus was formed about 18 months ago, said Loren E. Bucek, a teacher in a multiage second- and third-grade classroom and project director for “Roots and Wings.”
“Throughout this school year, our teaching staff made curricular connections that reflected our rich history, our present day-to-day experiences,” Bucek said. “We invited our students to envision Indianola Informal's future. These aspects are significant to the visualization of the front-entrance mural.”
Rachel N. Rowen, an arts educator at Indianola Informal, was watching April 1 as students wielded brushes for the first time.
“I do think it’s really exciting for them to see it come to life,” she said.
Like Sunami, Rowen is involved in the mural project as a parent, both current and in the past.
“I have been a parent here for 16 years, and a teacher here for nine,” Rowen said. “Nora is working as an artist apprentice with the artists, in her eighth-grade year, and is an avid artist herself. The project means a lot to her, as she has grown as a student and artist at our school.
“Indy has been a huge part of our lives for the past 16 years, and for her entire life. Nora is excited to move forward to high school, and is also feeling nostalgic about her time here, so the mural is perfect for her and other eighth-graders to be a part of as they move forward, especially this year.”
Indianola Informal is a lottery school, with more than 650 students who come from throughout the Columbus City Schools district.
During the planning stages, Rowen said, the entire student body was charged with choosing symbols that help showcase the history of Indianola Informal, including the classic stack of books with an apple on top.
The mural also will feature a tree and flowers, children playing, the school’s knight mascot and a rainbow that stretches from one end to the other, connecting all the images.
“It’s really something that brings the whole community together,” Rowen said.
Brooks, who has works in the collections of the Columbus Museum of Art and the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, said she doesn’t have children or grandchildren at Indianola Informal, but she was drawn to the project because of the way art is emphasized in the curriculum.
“It’s a very pleasant experience because I’m sort of emotionally attached to the school,” Brooks said. “I can see that they appreciate art.
“What I like is that the parents are so supportive of the kids and the school.”
The project is set to conclude with a dedication ceremony and program at 6 p.m. May 20.