116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - An eyesore at Cleveland Park along First Avenue SW is getting a facelift thanks to some talented art students.
'We are always trying to get people involved in our community,” said Cleveland Area Neighborhood Association President George Heeren. 'One of the committee's goals is to get this park cleaned up.”
Heeren contacted Jefferson High School to see if some students could help brighten a metal water valve cover at the park.
'We paid for the supplies, and we gave it to them and said, ‘have fun, enjoy it, and make it a better,'” Heeran said.
Mary Swanson, Jefferson's visual arts chair, selected eight students to paint a mural on the water valve cover that 'will be germane to the history of the park, and will tie it into the current standing of the park, while also representing the school.”
The students began working on the project last month, and expect it to be finished in three weeks, weather permitting.
Clarissa Bruns, 18, a Jefferson senior, said the water valve cover looked like a 'metal coffin” with a 'worn gray color” when she first saw it.
'I know it sounds vague, but I want people to feel ‘good' when they see it,” she said while using a pencil to trace gusts of wind coming from the school's mascot, the J-Hawk.
Along with the J-Hawk, the mural will feature several images in 'cheery colors” including children playing baseball, a splash pad, and a soapbox car.
'There used to be soapbox derbies on 15th street and Fifth Ave in the '60s, '70s and '80s,” Heeren said while pointing at the street southeast of the park.
Swanson said the students came up with the ideas for the images.
'It is really neat to see them working as a group with collaboration,” Swanson said. 'That is a tool that students need in the real world.”
Carolyn Driskell, a sophomore who was tracing the outline of a soap boxcar driver, said art is 'just fun to do.”
'You get to express yourself,” she said. 'You get to express yourself.”
When the mural is complete, the students will sign their names next to the section they created. Heeren said the neighborhood association will have a ceremony to honor the students.
'I hope it gives them a sense of pride. To show the public, ‘That is something I did,'” Heeren said. 'This isn't something you can put in the closet, or set on the refrigerator.”