Mural-making encourages teamwork and expressiveness

Mural-making encourages teamwork and expressiveness

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If you're driving down Elgin and 34th Street, you'll find a piece of art work taking up an entire side of a building.

"We don't have to use crayons on the walls, we just go ahead and paint right in there," Evie Seger, a Miss Megan's maker said.

Kids at Miss Megan's Make Room made this mural.

"It may not be perfect, we're still working on our painting skills and things like that, but it gives them a place to express themselves in a way that they just don't have the opportunity to in many other ways," Megan Shirley-Ross, owner and instructor at Miss Megan's Make Room said. 

Through a democratic process, kids during summer camps decided what they wanted to paint as a group.

"Similar to sports you have to communicate, you have to make decisions together, they have to learn how to have their voice shown in a group of other peoples voices and to not be over powering and to share and let go of control. So voting and having a voice gives them confidence also to feel like they are in a space where they can have an opinion, and it can be heard, and it can be validated and even if we change it through democratic process and voting and changing our minds, they know they still had something to do with the final product and I think that's really affirming for them," Ross said. 

"When I worked with all these people, I found out that communicating with people was good for me and then I became a very much an extrovert like my dad," Gwendolyn Johnson, a Miss Megan's maker said. 

Miss Megan said this mural has allowed kids to paint bigger than themselves, something they don't get to do very often. 

"It was really fun to work on it, I like painting a lot now, but the part is I don't like getting paint everywhere, like everywhere," Seger said.

"I just loved painting all these humongous strokes," Johnson said.

While having fun, Miss Megan said art teaches kids valuable lessons.

"We want to be able to have a place in the world and a way to express ourselves that we maybe can't do outside of our art practice, we may not have skills to be verbal. I tell people all the time that I try to be the place that I wanted and needed as a kid," Ross said.

It was a lot of hard work.

"We were drawing it on paper, then we were doing it in chalk, then we traced it over with some black, and then we started with the paint. The paint was the hardest part," Seger said. 

In the end, it all came together. 

"When I was working on Europe, I'm just like hey this butterfly is really good and I just look over at all these butterflies and I'm like oh my goodness I can't believe we did all of this, I was just so surprised because I hadn't noticed it and then I did and it was like, I couldn't believe it," Johnson said.

Miss Megan's Make Room has camps, classes and workshops throughout the year. For more information: https://www.missmegansmakeroom.com/.

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