Local group paints mural in support of common ground

Andrea Hefferan | Online Editor

With the simple stroke of a brush, three Mason High School students are painting a picture that they hope will help the Mason Community.

The MADE (Mason Deerfield) for Authentic Leadership organization will be painting an interactive mural on the back wall of the ROYAL Theatre Company and Muennich’s Inc. Auto Repair Service in downtown Mason to add spirit and color to the city. Senior Grace Koesters, who is part of the group, said they are doing this to attract more high school age students to the downtown area.

“Our project last year was to figure out a way on how to revive downtown Mason and make people feel more like it’s their community,” Koesters said. “So we did a lot of research over the year, and one of the things we came up with was to add art in downtown Mason, specifically student art, because we thought that would be a cool way to tie the high school into the older community.”

Senior Taylor Kling is the master behind the design.  The process, from coming up with ideas to adjusting her design to the city’s specifications, took her about two months.  She said the most difficult part was making a piece that will work for a variety of people. 

“One of the major design issues we had to work around was the fact that they wanted to do huge butterfly wings for people, and we had to pay attention to the fact that people are all different shapes, and sizes, and heights,” Kling said. “We wanted something that could be accessible for everybody, which was difficult to work around because some people are really, tall and others are really short, and you wanted to find a nice median for the sizes of the butterflies.”

The design of the mural, butterfly wings, was very intentional. The MADE for Authentic Leadership team decided to use this as the design to support Common Ground, a project to build a playground for people of all abilities. Senior Amanda Harper said that by using the wings, they are aligning the message of their mural with that of Common Ground.

“We were excited about working with them because basically the Common Ground’s park, it’s an all-inclusive playground that they’re trying to develop, and their symbol is the butterfly, which is their symbol of inclusion,” Harper said.  “Butterflies are also visually appealing, so we wanted to do this interactive mural thing, and we wanted to get involved, so that just seemed like the perfect balance.”


Senior Amanda Harper paints a butterfly on the downtown Mason mural
to represent Common Ground.


The mural was originally supposed to be finished last year, but by the time they had gotten approval for the project and had all their research, it was too late in the year to begin painting. For Koesters, the setbacks they faced made the project more frustrating, but ultimately more rewarding in the end.

“If I had to choose a hardest part, I would say sticking with the project and not giving up, because it did take two years to get something done,” Koesters said. “That isn’t a typical thing a high school student has to deal with. This is an ongoing thing that we did; we started in the spring of 2017 and it’s just now getting finished in the fall in 2018.”

Despite hardships, the mural has been a learning experience for the members of the organization. Advisor of the MADE for Authentic Leadership team, Debbie Gentene said that while she is in charge of the organization, it was the students who took the mural from an idea to reality.

“I didn’t want to be that coach or that teacher standing over them, delegating tasks,” Gentene said. “I wanted them to figure it out amongst themselves. And so most of the projects they’ve worked on entirely on their own.”

The team’s excitement about the mural is spreading to MHS students; they are looking forward to the new scenery as well. Junior Anna Attal said she loves the idea is sure to visit it soon.

“I think the mural is a really smart idea,” Attal said. “It’s a cool way to get people to come to downtown Mason (to) explore and walk around and see something cool while they’re there.”

Photos by Tanner Pearson.