College Place Elementary School volunteers will be livening up their campus by painting murals on eight of the school’s 40 pillars this Thursday, Aug. 10. These murals will reflect the diversity on campus as well as the school’s values.
Artist Missy Hancock of Rooted Design, LLC, who has more than 20 years of experience in teaching and painting murals, piloted the project in 2021 when she saw how “drab” the campus looked during her kids’ first year at College Place Elementary (CPE), located at 20401 76th Ave. W. in Lynnwood.
“I thought if I could bring my skills to the school, it would help to brighten the campus and provide an opportunity for everyone to connect around a shared project,” she said. “I want this project to be an opportunity to bring our community together. Anyone who wants to participate and paint, can!”
In 2021, Hancock connected with Natural Leaders, a coalition of parents from different cultural backgrounds who help families break down language and systematic barriers and connect communities and schools with each other.
“They were excited about a mural project and encouraged me to pursue it,” said Hancock. “I reached out to the PTA and they were also excited about this idea.”
She got in touch with the members of the Edmonds Art Festival Foundation and they suggested that she get as much community support as possible before submitting a grant. And so, Hancock hosted four listening sessions in 2022 with community members, including Natural Leaders. She proposed three ideas:
1. Paint the pillars with patterns from our cultures
2. Paint the playground
3. Paint a mural near the basketball court
“Last year, the Natural Leaders and PTA encouraged me to attend [their] Multicultural Night, and I set up a booth to share this project idea and get more parent interest and support,” said Hancock. “I took pictures at our fashion show at that event, and used those images to get pattern ideas to celebrate the community’s diversity. Next, I met with the school’s Student Leadership class, and the kids were really excited about brightening the school and getting a chance to paint a mural.”
She created an online poll for families, and the majority voted for the multicultural pillars. Later, she received the first part of the Community Arts Grant of $800 from the Edmonds Arts Festival Foundation that covers painting the front eight pillars by the school’s entrance.
“This first community project will hopefully drum up excitement so we can do the rest of the pillars later in the year, likely in the spring,” said Hancock. “The grant I wrote only covered the cost for the front. My hope is to continue to build community involvement and momentum and write another grant for part two next year, so we can paint the rest of the pillars in the spring.”
The first phase of the pillar mural painting will start on Aug. 10 at 10:30 a.m. at the entrance of CPE. Contact Missy Hancock at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to help.
— By Nick Ng