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Art students paint for others

By Julie Ooms

Painting I students who helped create a mural at Sioux Center Christian School were (front, from left) Rebecca Postma, Clara City, Minn.; Amanda Niewenhuis, Corsica, S.Dak.; Lauralee Stel, Lansing, Ill.; Lindsey Shearer, Monument, Colo.; Rita Vander Wal, Manteca, Calif; Kara Kuipery, Rockwood, Ont, Canada; Sarah Franken, Sioux Center, Ia.; Liz Terborg, Pella, Ia.; Randi Unverzagt, Canton, S.Dak.; (on scaffold, from left) Ginelle Bakker, Lowland, Ont., Canada; Michelle Obbink, Hawarden, Ia.; Mason Welsh, Neligh, Neb.; Brent Koops, Osborne, Kan.; Philip Van Dyken, Ripon, Calif.; Tara Warolin, Sumas, Wash.; and Mark Wikkerink, Duncan, B.C., Canada.

Painting I students who helped create a mural at Sioux Center Christian School were (front, from left) Rebecca Postma, Clara City, Minn.; Amanda Niewenhuis, Corsica, S.Dak.; Lauralee Stel, Lansing, Ill.; Lindsey Shearer, Monument, Colo.; Rita Vander Wal, Manteca, Calif; Kara Kuipery, Rockwood, Ont, Canada; Sarah Franken, Sioux Center, Ia.; Liz Terborg, Pella, Ia.; Randi Unverzagt, Canton, S.Dak.; (on scaffold, from left) Ginelle Bakker, Lowland, Ont., Canada; Michelle Obbink, Hawarden, Ia.; Mason Welsh, Neligh, Neb.; Brent Koops, Osborne, Kan.; Philip Van Dyken, Ripon, Calif.; Tara Warolin, Sumas, Wash.; and Mark Wikkerink, Duncan, B.C., Canada.

Art students at Dordt College had a unique opportunity: to paint a mural, sixty-five feet long and five feet high, in the library at Sioux Center Christian School. John Olthoff, a Dordt professor and SCCS board member, suggested the mural, a timeline stretching from one end of the library to the other, and from the beginning of history to the present. The art department was happy to oblige, and the SCCS students are enthusiastic about this addition to their school.

Art Professor Susan Van Geest says the mural contributed to learning for both Dordt and SCCS students. Van Geest sees the mural as a way to promote collaboration in the classroom, to enable the students to get to know each other better (which helps when they have to honestly critique each other’s work) and to allow art to serve a nonprofit function. And, since fine art students are used to working by and for themselves, the mural gave students the opportunity to serve others’ needs and work with a client. “The students learned to work together, combine their different styles, and see their own value as artists, as well as the value of their fellow students’ work,” Van Geest said.

As for the SCCS students, Van Geest hopes the mural will be a learning aid as well as a way to encourage appreciation of art. If the children’s enthusiasm is any clue, her hopes are sure to be fulfilled.