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Preschool: Mural Arts Project will give center new profile
By Charles Swenson
It started with a T-shirt. Now, a community art project is poised to cover an entire building.
The venture is the next step in the renovation of a new home for the Pawleys Island Child Development Center. It moved this summer from the former Parkersville School to a nearby building that has been a senior citizens center, magistrate’s office and sheriff’s office substation.
Refurbished with classes for ages 2 through 4 on the inside, volunteers are now sketching the details of a plan to cover the exterior with art. “We’re hoping the whole community will end up participating,” said Sharon Huber, one of the volunteers.
Participation, not decoration is the goal, said Lisa Rosof, a yoga instructor who volunteers at the center. She was on the playground one day when Ivy Green, who was teaching at the center, noticed Rosof’s T-shirt. It had an image around the hem of people holding hands. “We’re all in this together,” was the message.
“I love that T-shirt,” Green told her. It should be on a mural planned for the new building, she said.
Lillian Reid, the center’s director, suggested Rosoff help with the mural. “I started collecting money for paint,” Rosoff said.
And she started sending e-mail and posts on social media. She heard from Huber and Richard Webb, an artist.
“We started playing with this thing,” Webb said. Pretty soon they had a mural covering an entire side of the building, at least in their mind’s eye. It wasn’t much of a stretch to cover the other three walls.
Rosof contacted the Philadelphia Mural Arts Project for advice. “I might need some help with this,” she decided.
Karen Yaniga was another contact. She offered to take care of the fundraising. And since they are raising money for murals, why not look for money to help improve the playground. “It’s very doable,” Yaniga said.
The center has space for 60 children, but 25 are enrolled, said Norman Reid, Lillian’s husband and chairman of the center’s board. “As people see the building and the artwork, people will say, ‘It’s a place to take my kids,’ ” Reid said.
The center’s board wants to make sure the neighboring churches and residents are comfortable with the idea, Reid said. “It’s not going to be something outrageous,” he said.
The volunteers, now calling themselves the Mural Arts Project, have solicited ideas from artists with local connections. Webb said it’s important that the finished project be art rather than illustration. “There’s a huge difference,” he said. He would also like to see children’s art included.
They plan to have a concept for the north side of the building, which is its main entrance, in time for an open house planned for Sept. 18. They want to have all four sides painted in time for an unveiling in mid-February.
“We have this gigantic, ambitious goal,” Rosof said.
So does Reid. Once the county moves its magistrates from the adjacent building, he’d like to use the space as a trade school for teens and adults.