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Murals the work of Miami and Hamilton High students

11/19/2007

Murals inspired by Booker T. Washington were designed and painted by Miami University and Hamilton High School art students as part of a community project sponsored by the Harry T. Wilks Leadership Institute.

The murals were created for the Booker T. Washington Community Center, located at 1140 Front St. in Hamilton. Founded in 1918, the center provides social, educational and recreational programs for youth and adults. The murals project grew from a meeting last year led by Nicholas Longo, Wilks director; Monica Ways, director of Miami's office of community engagement; and Jerry Morris, art professor, along with art educators at Hamilton High. The gathering collected stories about Washington, the center's history and its effect on the people who use it.

Morris and the students used those stories in a spring 2007 class as the basis for the murals' design. Seven Miami students were involved and, ultimately, more than 60 Hamilton students of Ellyn Schuerings, Miami '04 MFA '06.

Samantha Doan, a junior art major, praised Schuerings' work and dedication. "From the very beginning to the very end, she generated so much energy and really helped propel this project forward," she said. Doan was also impressed with the high-school students. "Their dedication, ideas, talents and hard work produced a product they should be proud of," she says.

Aleida Benitez, a graduate student in art education, echoed Doan's comments. "I think we all felt an amazing sense of accomplishment when we finished the murals because we created something with high-school students and community members that will last in the community. We were proud of the process of getting the stories of community members, then sketching with the high-school students. In every sense it was an amazing collaboration."

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