A series of 13 mural panels created by Aurora High School students and depicting images of prominent Aurora historical figures was unveiled last Thursday at the Houn' Dawg Alumni and Outreach Center at the old armory.
The project, made possible by a Placeworks Grant from the Springfield Art Museum and Rural Schools Development, used a variety of resources and creativity to create mixed-media silhouette panels of Lydia McNatt, Stephen Elliott, Fred Baum, Ken Ackley, Ed Cook, Eugene "Poss" Jackson, Norma Eden, Hazel Gardner, Ethel Gardner, Gene Kirkham, Jerry Fogle, Howard Bagby and Harold Thurman. Each individual was selected based on stories of their commitment, dedication, service and love for the community.
Aurora art teacher Ashley Bolling and leadership teacher Kim McCully-Mobley worked with students to brainstorm and develop the project throughout the spring semester of the most recent school year.
Using copies of various documents from Aurora's past, the students created the images and sealed the panels before using photographs of the subjects to create the silhouettes.
According to an informational display presented along with the panels at the dedication ceremony, the goals of the project included:Finding unique ways to showcase Sense of Place work at the Houn' Dawg Alumni Center Using the Charter Member Hall of Fame Class as a starting point for the silhouettes Anchoring the project in the town's rich and colorful history Creating dialogue about the individuals from the community's past Implementing momentum for more site-specific artwork to help share the community's story with future generations Showcasing interdisciplinary work between students and classes at AHS
At the ceremony, McCully-Mobley recognized a number of students who worked on the project, including Luke Shoemaker, AllyBrighton Grosenbacher, Jessica Bussard, Breeana Hopper, Allieana Williams, Morgan Sanborn, Julia McVey, Kayla Everett and Lauryn Smith Blasdell, as well as summer interns Morgan Montgomery and Casey Weathermon. Members of the A-Tech I class and Media Writing students also pitched in, including Carlos Cordova, Brad O'Neill, Clayton Dunning, Chase Moore, Ethan Mooneyham, Mariah Besett, Hannah Estes, Luis Lopez, Colson Husmann, Jeff Simpson and Tianyi (Stewart) Sun.
Six of the panels created will remain on display at the armory -- the four members of the inagural Hall of Fame Class: Ackley, Jackson, Cook and Baum, as well as Elliott and McNatt -- while the rest will be placed at the following locations.Fogle and Bagby at R-8 Central Offices Kirkham at the entry to Aurora High School The Gardner sisters at the entrance to Pate Early Childhood Center Eden at the entrance to Robinson Elementary School Thurman at Aurora Junior High
McCully-Mobley stated she was "delighted" by the turnout at the dedication ceremony, noting that it was extra special to have the families of some of the individuals honored on-hand.