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Published: Wednesday, 1/11/2006

Rossford: Teenagers to make their marks on library wall

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
NBR wall04p Jan. 5, 2006 The Blade/Lori King Michelle Perkins, the Rossford Library young adult wall art program coordinator, shows her youngsters from Rossford Jr. High the wall they use as a canvas. NBR wall04p Jan. 5, 2006 The Blade/Lori King Michelle Perkins, the Rossford Library young adult wall art program coordinator, shows her youngsters from Rossford Jr. High the wall they use as a canvas.
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Forget the days when you were younger and got in trouble for writing on the walls - librarians at the Rossford Public Library are encouraging the practice and will even supply the paint and brushes.

But rest assured, mom and dad, your children aren't going to be repainting your home fuchsia and lime green, but they may choose to use those colors on a section of a wall at the newly remodeled library.

Through the Young Adult Wall Art Project, any teenagers in grades six through 12 have a chance to make their mark in the library on a 72-square-foot wall that's been left blank in the new Young Adult section, said young adult programmer Michelle Perkins.

Each teenager who signs up will be reserved a single square-foot section, whether they have tangible painting skills or they just want to create something abstract.

"If they have enough guts to say, 'I want to do this,' I give them credit for being brave about it," Ms. Perkins said. "It takes a lot of guts for something to be on public display, so we're not going to turn anyone away for lack of skills."

Teenagers will be given the freedom to paint whatever they wish - within reason, of course. Ms. Perkins said the content has to be approved by library staff to ensure there is no nudity, profanity, or excessive violence portrayed on the wall.

"They can create a painting of their choice - their own mini-mural," she said. "We just want them to be involved in the renovation, and we think this is a creative way because it would be permanent in their own space dedicated to them."

About a dozen students have signed up to paint a square so far, and two have an idea of what they plan to create.

Ian Ortega, a 13-year-old Rossford Junior High School student, said he plans to primarily use one color on his square to symbolize the universe and harmony.

"I'm going to be painting a lot of green, but creatively," he said. "I think [library patrons] are going to have to observe it for a while to get the picture."

While young Ortega said his art tool of choice is markers, 17-year-old Lynnette Lauer said hers is black ink.

"I think I'm going to do an abstract kind of art, probably in just black and white, or maybe black and another color, but I'm not sure what it will symbolize yet," the high school senior said. "But I wanted to be able to participate in the making of the new library."

The Young Adult section was created through a nearly $1 million library expansion and renovation project that began in August and is expected to last until spring.

Other renovations include expanding the entry vestibules so there's more room for people to move through freely; more community room capacity; a new children's room; and new carpet, computers, circulation desk, reference desk, furniture, shelving, and lighting.



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