Stars, stripes and support
BRIGHTON — Thanks to a group of artistic high school students, Brighton’s downtown now sports a large, colorful mural. Members of the Washington High School Art Club painted an American flag and the words to the Pledge of Allegiance on the Brighton Locker over the weekend.
Bill Donelson, the building’s owner, said he wanted something patriotic on his building to show his support for the armed forces since his son, Ross, is on active duty with the Iowa National Guard.
“The Pledge of Allegiance was my idea,” Donelson said. “I think everybody who lives here needs to know what the United States of America is all about.”
Six students painted the mural over two days, Saturday and Sunday. They spent about five hours each day on the project. On the east edge of the building they painted a wavy American flag 5 x 10 feet in size. Above the flag they wrote the words, “We Support Our Troops.” To the west of the flag they wrote the words to the Pledge of Allegiance in big letters, each about a foot tall.
Student artist Shelby Mineart, daughter of Henry Mineart and Rebecca Goeke, said she loved the idea of painting a patriotic mural, especially in her hometown and especially since her brother, Jaremy Schwarting, is in the Marines.
Cheyenne Gillette, daughter of Brenda and Justin Zaugg, said she hadn’t been in many extra-curriculars until this year, when she joined the Art Service Club.
“I wanted to do more stuff, and I thought this would be a great way to get involved,” she said.
Ruth Towner, daughter of Paul Towner and Lynette Iles, said she plans on moving away from the area after high school, but wanted to mark her mark before she left.
“I wanted to leave something behind,” she said.
Danijela Zivkovic, an exchange student from Serbia who’s staying with Dawn and Greg Schindler, showed the group how to paint a wavy flag. The students then used sidewalk chalk to draw the outline of the flag and the letters of the Pledge. The stars proved to be fairly difficult and the group ended up using a stencil cutout to paint them.
Donelson told one of his workers, Judy Augustine, that he’d like to spruce up his building. The building was just painted red with white trim over Labor Day weekend by Albert Wells. Donelson and Augustine liked the idea of painting a patriotic mural on the south side of the building which had been just a solid color brick wall.
Augustine contacted Washington High School art teacher Anne Pisarik to see if her students would like to paint a mural. Pisarik asked the members of the Art Service Club’s community service committee if they were interested in the idea, and luckily they were.
Pisarik said the students did everything on their own, from outlining the flag and the words on the wall to painting them.
“I’m trying to take a step back and help the kids run their own meetings,” she said. “They will take more of an initiative than they’ve done in the past. With regard to the flag mural, I passed [Judy’s] contact info to the students, and the next thing I knew they were scheduling to paint it. They did a great job.”
The students said that Bailey Cole, daughter of Tonya Cole and Joseph Hunt, was the “mastermind” behind the project and was responsible for getting the supplies.
Jiovanni Tapia, son of Rosa and Martin Tapia, said the Art Service Club is being run a little differently this year. The club is divided into committees, including the community service committee, which was responsible for painting the mural. He said this kind of public exposure will raise the profile of the Art Service Club. He painted the mural to honor his brother, Cesar Tapia, and cousin, Jovany Gomez, both of whom are in the military.
Augustine’s daughter, Pearl Lloyd, served in the National Guard for 21 years. Her late husband, Tim Lloyd, was a disabled veteran. She swelled with pride when she saw what the art students had done.
“It makes all the sacrifices I made worth it,” she said. “It’s very heartwarming.”