Painting their community...together

WESSINGTON — There are numerous types of projects that will enhance a community and bring its members closer together. For the students at the Wolsey-Wessington School, their pathway involves ... paintbrushes.
The 21st Century Community Learning Centers (CCLC) Grant Community Mural Project is underway for the schools, teaming up with K-12 art teacher Rob Ammerman from Wessington, to create a mural that reflects Wessington as a community.
While prep work and the base painting on the large panels that will go into the mural are already being completed, the “Big Finish” is set to take place, beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 13, at the tennis courts in Wessington, according to Kayti Ammerman, Rob’s spouse, and the current CCLC grant coordinator for the Wolsey-Wessington School District.
When completed, the mural will be installed on the south facing side of Heartland State Bank, near Wessington’s Community Garden, where it will be highly visible.
“This mural project has been in the making since Carol Rowen, Wolsey-Wessington’s principal and Callie Moser, the former grant coordinator for the district and myself got together to write the grant application in early 2016,” Kayti said.
When the school received the grant, she added that the wheels began turning on the mural-creation process.
Rob Ammerman was approached to head the project because of his past experience with mural painting, and his close relationship with the school.
“Having access to the students after school allowed for time to brainstorm symbols that represent our community,” Rob said.  “After seeing the plethora of wonderful ideas, I knew there would be no way for me to singularly combine all the student’s ideas into a piece.  Because of this, I sought out ideas for mural collaboration projects online.”  
Rob said that he stumbled upon an artist named Joel Bergner. He noted that the murals Bergner had created with the help of school groups, refugees, and other youth, managed to get the painters involved on a very personal level.
“Each painter gets an opportunity to express themselves with words and symbols that appear on the final piece,” he said. “It is my hope to get as many members of our local community involved in a similar fashion.”
As part of the 21st CCLC grant process, the Wolsey-Wessington After-School Program just had its final quarterly “Family Fun Night.” At this event, after-school students and their families worked together to put the beginning touches on the mural.
“Base colors are set,”Kayti said. “All we need now is for Wolsey-Wessington community members to come out and leave their mark. Please, put on your ‘painting clothes’ and come join us on June 13 to commemorate how, together, we are, a community.”

Picture Descriptions
Pic 1: Rough draft of the Wessington Mural designed by Wolsey-Wessington Afterschool students and artist Rob Ammerman.
Pic 2: Local artist and teacher Rob Ammerman from Wessington.
Pic 3: Brandi, Joey, and Lilly Hoverson painting the beginning touches of the mural during the Afterschool Family Fun Night.
Pic 4: W-W Students Anna Dargetz, Josie Pesky, and Kendal Uttecht show just how much fun painting a mural is.
Pic 5: Lali, Kevin, Edwyn, and Dustin Reyes along with Afterschool Helpers Parker VanBuskirk and Allison King paint their part for the W-W community.

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