Painting a caring community

photos courtesy of Roseville Area Schools Fourth-graders at Falcon Heights Elementary are painting a mural at their school around the theme of “Cultivating a Caring Community.”

Fourth-grade students at Falcon Heights Elementary are painting a mural in their school’s lunchroom based on the theme of “Cultivating a Caring Community.”

The kids are backed by the City of Falcon Heights, which received a St. Paul Foundation grant of $20,000 to support the work.

Artist Melodee Strong, who has worked on hundreds of murals across the Twin Cities, including one at Roseville Area Middle School above the school’s theater entrance, is working with the students on their mural during their first hour art class. Strong is also a middle school art teacher for Minneapolis Public Schools.

“Students provided me sketches of kids hand-in-hand, hugging each other and playing together,” said Strong of the early phases of creating the mural. “They really gravitated towards equity, equality and friendship in their sketches. They also expressed, more so in conversation rather than in their sketches, how being inclusive of different nationalities and ethnicities was important. Lots of globes and flags were drawn to support that.”

Falcon Heights is supporting the mural as a way to engage community leaders, parents and youth. The project is related to a city task force that made recommendations on how the city can be more inclusive.

“I think most kids understand to cultivate a community you need to love, respect and care for one another,” said Strong. “They also understand we need to take care of animals and the earth. It’s beautiful.”

Work on the mural began after winter break in January, Strong said, and she expects it to be complete by the end of March.


—Mike Munzenrider

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