By CHRISTIN COYNE
Student art might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of the Parker County Attorney’s office but it’s the first thing that now greets visitors at the building on West Columbia Street.
For nearly five years, the office has involved about 200 students annually from elementary school to high school age with an art contest focusing on crime victims. Now, a new partnership with the Weatherford ISD Art Department is highlighting additional work from local young artists.
About half a dozen art honor society students from WISD have spent their weekends this December recreating Wassily Kandinsky’s Composition II – a bright, colorful, abstract painting – on the building’s atrium walls.
In addition to the mural, Fine Arts Department head Diane Bolinger said they are showcasing photography from a different student every couple of weeks, starting with work by Lauren Bragg.
The artwork will be on view for attorneys, judges, merchants, assault family violence victims and the general public who come through the front doors of the building every day.
“It’s amazing what these kids can do,” County Attorney John Forrest said.
In addition to benefiting the students and public, Forrest said the atmosphere also helps put those who come through the door at ease.
“We want it to be more comforting for victims,” Forrest said. “Not just a drab building.”
The mural is a type of project that is different than what they’d typically do in the classroom, Bolinger said.
Though they’ve painted slogans on the walls at the high school, this is the first mural for the high school art students participating.
And it’s come with its challenges and fun, from squirrels and falling acorns to figuring out how to fit six painters in the small open-air atrium at the same time.
Typically, Weatherford sophomore Logan Baldwin and junior Andrew Healy, who were working on the painting on a recent Saturday, said they use charcoal and pencil, respectively. Outside school, the two baseball team members try their hand at spray paint on posterboard.
But with this project, they worked around and sometimes hanging from a large tree in the middle of the atrium. The students used a grid system to recreate the painting in large scale on the brick and wood walls.
About three-quarters of the project was on brick, while the last quarter was on wood, causing a difference in blending that the students didn’t expect, Bolinger said.
Parker County Plat Coordinator Leslie Coufal said a landscape painting done by a local artist in 1996 on the walls had become darker with age.
“It had kind of run its course,” Coufal said.
Knowing of County Attorney John Forrest’s interest in civic involvement, Coufal said she decided to contact the school about painting the area.
Coufal said she expects to create something for visitors to read about the painting, as well as make the mural painting a regular high school project.