TIFFIN - Their artwork may someday engage people the world over, but as they created it yesterday, the children didn't seem to care.
Throngs of children and their parents turned out yesterday at Hedges-Boyer Park to help create artwork to be used four years from now in the Art Miles Mural Project, an international collaboration that will culminate with 12 miles' worth of artwork to be displayed at the pyramids in Egypt. The project's aim: world peace.
The murals, 6 feet by 12 feet, are being painted all over the world, with participants from 100 countries so far, Tiffin coordinator Joe Moore said.
Tiffin residents who came to the park to celebrate Earth Day applied themselves, and their talents, with gusto.
"Where do you want to put your hand?" Alexandra Frank, 17, asked a couple of youngsters eyeing the mural created by Miss Frank and some members of her youth group, the God Squad. The orange and red mural featured a Bible verse and painted-in tracings of reaching hands.
Courtney Heiser didn't hesitate, smacking her hand on a spot about a foot from the bottom border of the painting. Miss Frank carefully traced around Courtney's hand and wrist with a pencil, then found a paintbrush so the child could fill in the lines.
"Like that paint, Court?" her mother, Shar Heiser, called from nearby. The girl looked up and beamed, pigtails flapping as she nodded. "Uh-huh!"
Like Courney, pretty much everyone likes painting, said Mr. Moore, director of the International Cultural Center at Tiffin Middle School. That's one reason his group chose the project.
"I was looking for projects that would connect people beyond the borders of Seneca County," he said, smiling as he looked at the people busily working on three murals.
Adults and children alike are creating the murals, with groups from local schools, senior centers, civic organizations, churches, and even the county jail contributing their efforts.
Sister Paulette Schroeder of the Tiffin Franciscan Sisters delighted in the "Becoming Free" mural created by her yoga group. Her sisters in the order plan to make a mural with a creation theme, she added.
"I spent half an hour free-drawing it," she said of the yoga group's mural, a serene scene with two purple figures in classic tree and lotus poses. "Yoga is about becoming free in mind, body, and spirit." Hence the theme of the mural.
The project requires the murals' designs to stay within one of 12 themes, including music, the environment, indigenous peoples, women, seniors, multiculturalism, sports, mentors, China's Great Wall, peace and healing, fairy tales - even celebrities, though no TomKat murals were spotted.
Mr. Moore said Tiffin residents are expected to create some 45 murals, which will be displayed May 21 at Tiffin Middle School, and will be sent later this year to the project office in California.
"Once it leaves our hands, we won't see it again," Mr. Moore said. But as participants, they will be able to order murals created by other groups. Mr. Moore hopes to bring in art from countries around the globe to show local children what others did.
But for now, folks in Tiffin are creating art, learning to express concepts without words. Take the mural designed by a middleschooler: musical notes, drums, horns, and a rainbow-hued keyboard, all on a purple background. Its joyous musical message translates to all ages.
"Art doesn't require language," Mr. Moore said, waving at the mural. "Art gets the message across regardless of language or boundaries."
Contact Vanessa Winans at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6168.