AP Art Students Paint Library Children’s Department

By Molly Schecklman – Since the September 2016 opening of the Everett Roehl Marshfield Public Library, the Children’s Department has been home to colorless, and life-lacking walls. Library workers recognized the issue immediately and knew something had to be done that would make the department appear more welcoming to the library’s youngest visitors.

“We batted [the idea] around for a while, but didn’t really have a good grasp on it. Kathleen Rulka, an area artist, put us in contact with [Marshfield] High School and the Art Teacher, Timothy Bergelin, with the possibility of creating a mural. Kathleen actually spearheaded the tribute tiles that are in the atrium of the library,” said Library Director, Lori Belongia.

The first step of the process was complete, but next came the decision of what the mural would be.

“The theme was back and forth with the school and the Children’s Department. We had at least five ideas,” said Belongia. “The theme is a treasure map and fits along with the whole idea of what a library is… a place where you can find multiple treasures and adventures.”

Bergelin and four students from the MHS Advanced Placement Art Class began work on the mural at the end of spring just before school let out. The group works on the mural a couple times a month, usually on Sundays, and spends anywhere from four hours to an entire day creating, drawing, and painting.

Even though the students are not receiving credit for their work on the mural, the project can be used to fulfill significant requirements for their Advanced Placement Portfolios.

“These portfolios require that students display versatility and variation in art creation. Murals of this scale will definitely support their experience as young artists and supply their portfolios with diverse work,” said Bergelin.

“I am not an artist, so watching this mural develop has been a learning experience in terms of the process,” said Belongia. “Each time they wrap up I think, oh ok, whatever they have accomplished that’s the end of it. But each time they come, they add more and more. I keep thinking it’s done, but then they add stippling portions and it just really brings the pictures to life. It has a whole different appearance to it with each detail they add. You don’t know what the steps are or what is coming up, but every time something is done it is a big reveal.”

When asked what he loves most about the entire project, Bergelin replied, “I love the visuals, but [my favorite part] has to be the students’ dedication and steadfastness! Maintaining focus and productivity for such a large and long-term project is admirable.”

“We are really grateful that Tim and the students are spending their time and their talents to create something that is truly unique. This will be their takeaway because no one else has it; it’s fun!” said Belongia.

Bergelin expects the project to be fully finished by the end of September, however he is hopeful that it can be completed earlier.

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