By Rick Palsgrove
A mural of a colorful nature scene now adorns the outside of Groveport’s Crooked Alley KidSpace.
According to Groveport Community Affairs Director Patty Storts, Groveport Town Hall staff and the city’s Trees and Decorations Committee worked with Groveport Elementary School students and their art teacher to create the large bottle cap mural that was installed on the south side of KidSpace, located at 630 Wirt Road. She said the mural will be dedicated on Arbor Day.
“This project was sponsored by the Groveport Trees and Decoration Committee. This would not have happened without their sponsorship,” said Storts.
Groveport Elementary art teacher Danae Sperk said the mural measures 24×16 feet and is made up of a dozen, 8×4 foot, pre-treated wooden boards. Attached to the artwork are 9,760 colorful plastic bottle caps
“There will also be a 9 foot Kidspace sign attached to the building along with a few free standing mushrooms for the front yard of Kidspace,” said Sperk. “The boards are painted, polyurethaned and capped. The plastic bottle caps only cover parts of the board.”
Sperk drew the scene on the boards first and then painted it along with Lindsey Morrison, Nicole Byler and Billie Lloyd.
“In the design, I decided to include the majority of flowers and insects that we’ve created in the front lawn of our school to help tie the two spaces together,” said Sperk. “Most of the bottle cap pieces in the school’s front lawn are also repeated in the mural. This was intentionally done to connect Kidspace and Groveport Elementary.
Many of our students visit and attend events at Kidspace so tying these two together just made sense.”
Added Storts, “I love the bottle cap art pieces that are in the Groveport Elementary school yard now.”
Storts said the mural for KidSpace is bright with a youthful theme.
“Hopefully this will entice more people to stop by KidSpace to look at the mural and then inquire as to what programs are offered in Crooked Alley KidSpace,” said Storts. “This piece was done by the Groveport Elementary art classes and they were most helpful in putting on the bottle caps.”
Sperk added that the “FBI – Fathers Being Involved,” which includes dads of Groveport Elementary students, also gave a helping hand in assembling the art piece.
Sperk said the idea of using bottle caps came from local artist Michelle Stitzlein.
“She produces beautiful artworks out of recycled materials,” said Sperk. “I saw some of her pieces at a local museum and knew I wanted to try making bottle cap projects with my students. We have produced new bottle cap pieces the past four years so we have been collecting caps for a while. We are recycling bottle caps and using them to create beautiful works of art. This shows my students that art can be produced using a variety of materials.”
Sperk said the physical work on creating the mural began in January.
“A lot of hours went into the painting portion, which could only be done when students weren’t in my room due to the size and layout of the mural,” said Sperk. “There is a lot of overlapping throughout the piece so all 12 boards needed to be laid out to create a cohesive scene. The bottle cap portion went faster because so many people worked together to add the caps. Every student had the opportunity to help with this mural. Several collected caps, many sorted the caps by color, a few painted and the majority used a drill and screws to attach the caps. There have also been community members who have helped with capping.”
Storts said public art, like this mural, helped build a sense of community.
“It is art that is accessible and not confined to a gallery or a museum,” said Storts. “It brings a building to life. It provides professional opportunities for artists in which their creativity can be seen. It supports learning environments and it opens eyes and minds.”
Added Sperk, “A community who chooses public art is one who values beauty and creativity. Public art is inviting and gives hope. Having our youngest members artwork displayed clearly, states that our community values all ages and has hope in our youth. When students know their contributions are valued, they become invested in bettering themselves and those around them. There is a sense of pride in community art.”
Sperk said this art project, and others like it teach students valuable lessons
“This project is all about community, teamwork, and recycling,” said Sperk. “We’ve been making these bottle cap sculptures for the past four years and it has become a part of our school community and my art program. This year in art class we have been focusing on how to strengthen and show community. We have talked about working together and helping others. This mural encompasses all of these things. Plus they learned how to use power tools which they loved!”