REDMOND, OR -- More than a dozen kids from Elton Gregory Middle School in Redmond spent their Saturday painting murals on three electrical boxes along North Highway 97. The students designed transportation-themed murals under the guidance of Artist-In-Residence David Kinker, "To feel like a real part of the city." He tells KBND News, "They get to look back through this for years and years and see their own work in town; and that's very thrilling, as an artist myself and having lots of public works out."
Sixth Grader Cooper Garland agrees. "It just is going to put smiles on my face, other people's faces. And, I just like that it's going to be - for everybody to be able to see it." Ruby Caudell is also a sixth grader who took part in one of the three teams. For her, it's good practice. "I want to be an artist when I grow up so, I do as much art as possible and it's really fun." She says, "It's for the people, too, that live here and get to see what art's in the mind of sixth graders and other middle schoolers."
"A lot of these kids are really talented drawers," says Kinker, "But they might little things and they haven't learned to compose those in an environment. And then, taking that environment to a mural where people are going to see it, not from the distance of an artist, but the distance of a few car lengths, and going 60 mph is a whole different thing." He says the students also learn to take pride in their work and their community, "Great personal attachment to the city for the kids and beautifying the place and making it less sterile. So, this is a great way to add to our community and for the kids' experience, as well."
Caudell was pleased to be involved in improving the large grey boxes, "Seems like it was just left behind. It wasn't looked at very good, and with our art makes it so much better and alive; that's what I think."
Redmond's Committee for Art in Public Places partnered with Elton Gregory Middle School for the "Out Of The Box" art project. They hope to beautify more electrical boxes in the future.
Photos: Top - Artist David Kinker oversees the start of the mural at the corner of N. Hwy 97 and Maple Ave. in Redmond.
Upper Right - Finished electrical box mural at N. Hwy 97 and Oak Tree Lane.