Not all elementary students can say they have already left a mark at their school district, but the Marshalltown Community School District’s class of 2034 have made an artistic impression.
During early May, first-grade students at all six elementary schools helped paint tiles to be part of a bigger art installation at the soon-to-open Welcome Center. Minnesota-based artist Greg Preslicka instructed the students on how to approach the project.
“(The students) have all that energy that comes out onto their piece,” said Preslicka. “They are not the ones that will paint it all one color. They’re going to have energy with their brushstrokes.”
Preslicka has done many art installations personally, particularly designing art pieces that engage students. His process of collaborating with kids starts with a design, transferring it onto hundreds of tiles, then allows young artists to paint the masterpiece. Preslicka then pieces together all of the tiles and retraces the lines.
“I came up with this program where kids get to paint what they want in their piece and then to unify it all together afterwards,” he said.
Preslicka presented MCSD with several design options and one was selected, which centered on the idea of diversity and inclusion.
“This mural installation showcases our communities’ diversity in a fun and childlike way,” said Curriculum and Professional Development Leader Julie Thede. “We hope families who come to the Welcome Center will find it appealing and stop for a moment to feel the friendliness of it.”
Marshalltown elementary art rooms welcomed Preslicka, who informed all of the first graders about the mural and how to mix colors. The young Bobcats were eager for the project while geared in painting shirts and paint brushes in hand. Students would fill in empty space with particular colors and accents.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for our young art students to meet an artist who makes a living through his artwork,” said K-4 Art Teacher Maggie Parks. “This will have a huge impact on their perception of art as a viable career path throughout their time as students at MCSD.”
“It is extra significant because our first-grade students were able to collaborate with the artist and our elementary art teachers to help with the painting of the mural. It was a memorable learning experience for the students that will have a lasting impact on the new space,” Thede said.
Preslicka installed all of the tiles onto the wall and retraced the lines at the Welcome Center in mid-May. He said it was a fun time working with the elementary students since their excitement was translated into the final piece.
“(The students) were wonderful and it’s great working with all of the art teachers,” said Preslicka.
Marshalltown community members will be able to see the art installation at the MCSD Welcome Center at the ribbon cutting ceremony and open house on Tuesday, June 27. The ribbon cutting will take place at 5:30 p.m. and the open house will be from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.