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WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 7, 2007
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Luke Hamilton, co-president of the Decatur Arts Council, works on a mural on the side of a storage trailer behind the Morgan County Department of Human Resources in Decatur. Hamilton presented drawings to Families and Children Experiencing Separation that fit the children's theme.
Daily photo by Brennen Smith
Luke Hamilton, co-president of the Decatur Arts Council, works on a mural on the side of a storage trailer behind the Morgan County Department of Human Resources in Decatur. Hamilton presented drawings to Families and Children Experiencing Separation that fit the children's theme.

Cheering up with paint
Decatur Arts Council donates time, talent for children's mural at Human Resources

By Danielle Komis Palmer
dpalmer@decaturdaily.com 340-2447

When you've got a plain gray trailer out back, what do you do to gussy it up a bit?

Three words: Decatur Arts Council.

Volunteers from the arts group began working on the cheerful mural Nov. 3. They were back at the trailer site Saturday behind the Morgan County Department of Human Resources in Decatur to start painting the mural. Using sponge brushes, paint rollers and paintbrushes, the group began filling in the bright greens, blues and reds onto the drawing.

The trailer was recently donated to Families and Children Experiencing Separation, a United Way agency. FACES works to meet the needs of children in Morgan County who are in foster care or protective services. The agency's trailer holds items such as sleeping bags, refrigerators and stoves for families in need. It was donated to the organization about six months ago.

"They kind of wanted to dress it up," said Luke Hamilton, co-president of the Decatur Arts Council, which is made up largely of young adults in their 20s and 30s.

Hamilton designed a few scenes that fit the children's theme and presented them to FACES. The drawings weren't easy for him because he doesn't usually draw for children, he said. He gleaned inspiration from "Little Golden Books" and tried to develop a cheerful scene.

Hamilton's scene that was chosen by FACES shows children happily playing in Decatur, with bright flowers and Hudson Memorial Bridge in the background.

"It's playful, something that kids might like," he said.

To get the small drawing blown up to cover the 45 feet by 8 feet trailer, Hamilton scanned his drawing into his computer. Next, he placed the drawing on a grid so that each inch represented about one foot. Then, he printed off the one-foot squares so they could be taken to the trailer and replicated on a large scale by members of the council.

"You're actually doing hundreds of little drawings that once you back up from is one big drawing," he said. "That was the first time I'd ever done anything like that."

Arts council volunteers gridded off the trailer with chalk and drew Hamilton's design on the trailer. The drawing only took about 3 hours to complete, he said. Now, the group has moved onto painting the mural using enamel paint on a gray primer that was already on the trailer. They plan to have it finished in a couple of weeks.

FACES coordinator Margaret MacIlveen said she and the rest of the FACES staff are excited about the new mural. They were already excited to have gained the storage trailer, and are just "really excited it's going to look pretty to boot," she said.

The design they chose of Hamilton's "looks happy and friendly and it shows Decatur too," she said. Without the arts council, she shudders to imagine what the labor would cost for the painting, she said. MacIlveen asked DAC to paint the mural after Laura Phillips of the Carnegie Visual Arts Center recommended the group.

On the Net: www.thedecaturartscouncil.com

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