When Ms. Hirrah, one of his many amazing teachers there, first told me about her idea, of course I volunteered to help (not that she asked for me to butt in, but now she was stuck).
First of all, there’s not much better art than kid’s drawings. They often come at drawing decision making in ways you’d never think of, and sometimes your socks are knocked off by their ability. Since Aiden and I had just watched ‘Yellow Submarine’ it was front and center in my mind, so I asked her to have the kid’s do drawing of things that made them happy, and then I’d arrange them into some type of mural design. Luckily, when I brought home the stack of wonderful doodles and started moving bits and pieces around like a puzzle, I had Aiden sitting next to me as my ‘go-to’ man. When I had a blank area that I thought need filling I’d just turn to my right and say “I need a bird, I need the word ‘Love' and throw in two more trees while you’re at it!”
Once it was slapped together, I colored it up and brought the guide to Ms. Hirrah’s class. The kids immediately excitedly identified their contributions, and since I tried to include everyone, there were many happy campers. Then the actual work (fun) began! The huge canvas was laid flat on the floor and I redrew the illustration 100 times larger the old school ‘grid pattern’ way, and then all the kids went to town filling in the outlines like a coloring book. For a month, Ms. Hirrah took the mini-artists a few at a time from class, safely covered in ponchos like they were in the front row of a ‘Blue Man Group’ show, as paint was slapped in between the lines, on their clothing and the surrounding floor. I went back in after that and added a few touch-ups and redid the outlines.
Now that it was finished, all that was left was attaching it to the side of the building! As I imagined the unveiling, I had helpfully suggested that the children come up with a few songs about how wonderful I am, I made sure Ms. Hirrah had notes about my career to pass along to The Mayor to be incorporated in her dedication speech, and I even bought a can of brass polish for the “Thank You Mitch O’Connell” plaque! Sadly it turned out to be much more low key, and apparently it’s more about the children than me! What th-?!
Anyway, it turned out great! So the next time you’re driving by the intersection of Lincoln and California (around 5800 North), look to the right of the Dunkin Donuts, and take in an eyeful of what those creative kids from Blooming Bud came up with!