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Community art students leave their mark on Dole Mansion

CRYSTAL LAKE – Middle and high school-aged art students are well underway on one of their biggest artistic endeavors.

Creative Arts Inc. art school in Crystal Lake is in the process of creating a mural depicting the theme “History and creativity keep us all connected” on the south wall of the Dole Mansion, 400 Highland Ave., said Amber Larsen, the school’s director.

The 13-by-28-foot mural depicts the history of the Dole Mansion and all aspects of the fine arts the Lakeside Legacy Arts Park supports – “everything that the Lakeside Legacy art center provides for the community,” Larsen said.

The Lakeside Legacy Arts Park works closely with groups such as the McHenry County Orchestra and rents spaces for musicians, fashion designers, culinary artists, photographers and other groups within the fine arts. The mural reflects that and includes musical scales, the “Comedy and Tragedy” theatrical masks, an artist painting on a canvas and other imagery of teaching within the arts.

Students painting the mural range in age from 11 to 17. The younger children who have not helped in painting the mural, those who are 4 to 10, will have a chance to leave their handprints so “everybody will have made their mark on the mural,” Larsen said.

Makenzi Iddings, 11, of Crystal Lake, said she learned a lot from Larsen and that she took pride in her work on the mural.

“When I paint, my mom says, ‘I don’t know how you do it, I don’t have the patience to do it,’” Iddings said. “I told her I have a passion for it. When I come, I sometimes express myself through painting, but I come to have fun.”

The construction of the mural began toward the end of May and is expected to be completed this month.

The dedication ceremony is scheduled for July 20.

Larsen said she was happy with how the children have adapted to working with a new art medium and learning how to draw three-dimensionally.

“I’ve never painted on a big scale before, and it helped me with perspective,” said painter Allison Spillane, 12, of Cary. “I learned how to put more detail in things.”

Larsen is excited for the dedication ceremony and to give credit to the kids who put a lot of time into the project.

“They [the kids] feel like they made their mark on history,” Larsen said.

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