Artist Leah Borden made the most of the dry and sunny weather in early June, spending much of her time outdoors with chalk, spray cans and paint brushes. She was joined by youth from the Boys and Girls Club, and families from Chamberlain Elementary and the neighborhood. Cars occasionally honked and waved in support as the multi-generational crew helped bring Borden’s design to life. Titled “Elements,” the colorful three-panel abstract mural depicts familiar elements in the local community: water, housing, agriculture and industry. Borden marked each color section, volunteers simply painted-by-number.
“If you want a community effort … you really have to slow down and share the tasks,” said Northside Neighborhood resident, Len Harms. “It takes longer, but it’s worth it.”
The idea for the mural came about after LaCasa sponsored local neighborhood residents (from Northside, Chamberlain, and Maplecrest) at a national NeighborWork’s Community Leadership Institute in Kansas City. The annual conference ends with a planning session and an opportunity for a small grant to complete a project. They decided on a mural on the retaining wall at 301 Middlebury St. (and the homeowner graciously agreed to the plan). “There has been a lot of learning in this project,” said LaCasa’s Neighborhood Outreach Coordinator, Julia King. “Creating a mural was a new experience.”
“It was great to see so many people come out and paint the wall,” said Chamberlain Neighborhood resident Bonnie Long. “It’s a positive statement for our neighborhood.”