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Kellar Middle School Students Complete Mural

5/16/2018, noon | Updated on 5/16/2018, noon
“We were trying to think of a way to incorporate and engage youth and as we were progressing and reaching ...
A mural, titled The Art of Music, was a collaborative effort between Ricardo Gonzalez, an artist and resident of Blue Island, students from Kellar Middle School in Robbins, Metropolitan Family Services, and the Blue Island-Robbins Neighborhood Network.

Kellar Middle School Students Complete Mural

BY KATHERINE NEWMAN

Students from Kellar Middle School in Robbins recently completed a new mural inside the school with the help of Ricardo Gonzalez, an artist and resident of Blue Island. The mural, titled The Art of Music, was a collaborative effort between Gonzalez, the students, Metropolitan Family Services, and the Blue Island-Robbins Neighborhood Network.

“We were trying to think of a way to incorporate and engage youth and as we were progressing and reaching out to the community, Ricardo Gonzalez, who is a Blue Island residents and an artist, reached out to us and said that he really wanted to do something. He really just wanted to figure out a way to be engaged,” said Kentric Benson, Blue Island-Robbins Neighborhood Network project coordinator.

After the initial outreach, Benson and Gonzalez approached Posen-Robbins School District 143.5 to see if they would be interested in having a mural inside, or outside, one of their buildings and they said yes. From there, Kellar Middle School was selected and Gonzalez began meeting with students in the Metropolitan Family Services after-school program to design the mural.

“The great thing about it is that we did it in the Village of Robbins. Robbins has a degree of challenges, especially with young people, so it was really important to do it at a school in Robbins and have the children be a part of it so they could actually see something be built up and not torn down,” said Benson.

The Blue Island-Robbins Neighborhood Network has two AmeriCorps volunteers that were instrumental in creating the mural.

“Our AmeriCorps volunteers, Kassandra and Ashley, were very instrumental in helping the students to be able to do the painting, not make a mess, and keep them engaged,” said Benson.

The students were not only responsible for painting, but they also assisted Gonzalez in the design process.

“Ricardo spoke to the students a little bit about what they wanted to see and they gave him ideas. He traced out something on a piece of paper from what they told him and they were able to see their creation and their ideas about what they thought The Art of Music should look like,” said Benson.

There were anywhere from 15 to 20 students that were able to participate in creating the mural. When everything was finished, each student was asked to sign the mural that will be part of the school forever.

“The students that were engaged were very engaged. Some of them had never painted anything before and they just wanted to actually see what it was like to create a mural, something that would be in the school forever that they can always say they were a part of,” said Benson.

The Blue Island-Robbins Neighborhood Network is part of the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago and brings together community members and stakeholders, like schools, businesses, churches and hospitals to develop a strategic plan to address community issues and how to solve them, according to Benson.