A Sunny Day over Marshfield
By Kris Leonhardt
MARSHFIELD – On July 31, the Chestnut Center for the Arts unveiled “Sunny Day over Marshfield” – a mural on the exterior east side of the building. The four-foot by 12-foot creation launched a project that will serve as a community service project for local fifth graders and enhance the façade of the Marshfield arts center for years to come.
“Our board of directors went to Neillsville to the Clark County arts center, and they were just putting up their second mural on their building – that is also a church. In talking with them, we got information. It was second graders that painted it. They have a resident artist who has big ownership in the center, so she got this going and we thought ‘Our building looks like a church and people keep thinking there’s a church. They never think of it as an art center. We’ve got to have art to show people that it is an art center,” recalled Edie Smazal.
With the idea for a student-made community service project, the group targeted fifth grade students on a recommendation from local art teacher, Marty Yohn, who noted the “attention span, attention to detail, and willingness to put in the effort” of those students.
“We had been in communication with Lincoln School for two years, so the fifth grade class from last year was all fired up; they were excited to do it, and we thought ‘Should we have them do it as sixth graders.’ Well, that is really not what the plan was; it was supposed to be fifth grade,” she added.
While the group regretted having to let the students down, they stuck to the original plan and moved on to the next class.
On June 1, 40 fifth grade students from Lincoln Elementary gathered to create the mural with the assistance of Yohn, who designed and directed the work.
Smazal said that this will be the first of many murals that will grace the exterior of the center, working with a different fifth grade class each year in the School District of Marshfield to enlighten and liven the center and the downtown area.