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As you drive down Interstate 70 past Clear Creek High School, make sure to check out the colorful mural that graces the building's north wall. The colorful 12-foot by 13-foot mural depicts landmarks …
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As you drive down Interstate 70 past Clear Creek High School, make sure to check out the colorful mural that graces the building's north wall.
The colorful 12-foot by 13-foot mural depicts landmarks that define the area, including the Georgetown Loop Railroad, the Charlie Taylor Waterwheel, Clear Creek, Mount Evans and, of course, a gold nugget.
The mural is a collaboration between the Mountain Youth Network, a new class at CCHS called Arts in the Community and Rise Above Colorado, which is a drug-abuse prevention organization. Rise Above Colorado has been working with MYN to engage students in positive activities, according to Becca Bernal with MYN, and both thought partnering with the class was the perfect way to create a mural.
Jonathan Judge, program director with Rise Above Colorado, explained that when students create something on such a large scale like a mural, they feel they are part of something bigger than themselves.
The two organizations and CCHS music teacher Micayla Bellamy, who is teaching Arts in the Community, collaborated with students in the class to brainstorm mural ideas, and then surveyed the school and the Clear Creek communities about what makes Clear Creek unique.
Judge and artist Bimmer Torres designed the mural based on the students' ideas. Then Judge used spray paint to create the outlines of the features, and students used house paints in various hues to finish the mural masterpiece.
“Painting the mural reflects what (students) can do,” Judge said. “It's a way to fill their world with good projects and gets youths engaged. Something like the mural also reverses misconceptions about teens.”
Bellamy said she created the class as a way for CCHS' performing and visual arts departments to connect with the community, and the mural fit well into her vision for the class.
Principal Chris Gould is happy with the mural and the lessons it has taught the students.
“Projects like the mural provide our students with the opportunity to reach out and listen to our community, and then do something with what they hear,” Gould said. “It pushes students to develop a couple of aspects of our Learner Profile, such as communication, leadership and critical thinking. And, at the end of it, they walk away with new skills in addition to a beautiful contribution to the community.”
As the class was painting the mural on a sunny, windy day last week, senior Kayla Deveau said it's been fun designing and painting the mural, noting that it shows the expanse of Clear Creek County yet the small community feel of the towns here.
Sophomore Sam Shugrue has been impressed with how well the mural looks.
“It's turning out pretty good,” he said.
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