Renovation by Collaboration

Batesville, IN, January 5, 2016 – A student and community collaboration that resulted in the renovation of the Batesville High School Media Center was the showcase of a small reception held for the Board of the Rural Alliance for the Arts (RAA) Tuesday, January 5th. The RAA’s Arts In Education Fund (AIE) provided money towards a portion of the project that produced a large scale, 5 foot x 22 foot, mural that hangs behind the reception area, as well as two other smaller murals, reported RAA board member Anne Raver. “This is what happens when a community supports the arts,” said Ms. Andrea Grimsley, the AIE Artist in Residence who spoke during the reception about the process of creating the murals, and assisting BHS art students and art teacher, Mr. Kyle Hunteman, in bringing the brightly colored murals to life.

Batesville High School Principal, Andy Allen opened up the reception with a presentation highlighting how each of the different contributors to the project collaborated to make it a success. The idea got off the ground when students from The Interact Club, with the support of their sponsors, Lisa Gausman and Sarah Jaisle, wrote a grant proposal to turn the library into a student friendly space. Attendees at Batesville Community Education Foundation’s (BCEF) Western Night fundraiser in April of last year voted, through their donations, on four different grant proposals – one submitted from each BCSC school. BHS was one of two schools chosen to be awarded a grant of $2000 for their proposal. BHS then matched that $2000 amount.

Allen then asked Mr. Craig Hughes to have students from his Project Lead the Way class design the space. This became a real-world project for the students because they had to resolve budget and space concerns. Students Tim Tunny, Shawn Czerniak and Kevin Bedel were all there to explain to the RAA board their ideas, and the work they put in behind the scenes to accomplish this transformed student area for the library.

Once the space for the renovation was designed, art students were able to work with Hunteman and Grimsley to create the mural. BHS seniors Elizabeth Weiler, Sarah Canady, and Clare Siebert were the lead art designers, and then they had many other students who helped paint the mural. Siebert and Canady explained the mural’s design. The tree and its roots are the student’s foundation, then after high school they will fly away from the nest to the next step in their lives. Birds hung on the mural create a 3D effect to represent the students’ flight.

“With such a large scale mural, the students had to learn how to deal with the space and how it impacts color, size of the objects, installation, and budget, etc.,” explained Grimsley. She said there was great support at every turn, from the engineering class to the maintenance department, to the students and school personnel, and especially Donna Reese, who manages the library. She also noted that she has worked with many students from many schools, but she thought this was one of the best designs she has seen over the years.

Allen also touted the collaboration between the BHS Students, the RAA, and the John and Joan Hillenbrand Vision Fund for Innovation.

See the full mural project in progress, follow this link to youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HNnFdMgEOAA

Front row, left: Sophia Fledderman, Anna Kick, Taylor Meyers, Sarah Canady, Clare Siebert, Elizabeth Weiler and Andrea Grimsley, Visiting artist and BHS art teacher Alex Wilburn; back row, left: Teacher Craig Hughes, Tim Tunny, Shawn Czerniak, Kevin Bedel, BHS art teacher Kyle Hunteman

back row, left: Craig Hughes, Principal Andy Allen, Jeff Pawlik, RAA president,  art teachers Alex Wilburn and Kyle Hunteman;  front row, left, Sarah Heppner, RAA executive administrator, Anne Wilson, Executive Director of BCEF, Nancy Reece, BHS Media specialist, Andrea Grimsley, visiting artist.

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