- Thoreau Park Elementary School
Eagle Wings, Viking Ship Murals Inspire Students
October 21, 2022
Two of our elementary schools got beautiful murals painted inside their buildings thanks to the generosity and talent of a Parma Schools alumna.
Kim Colarik, a graduate of Normandy High School, painted Eagle Wings at Dentzler and a Viking Ship at John Muir this summer. She previously did a paint-by-number mural in Hillside Middle School with students in the media center.
Both works of art at the elementary schools are photo opportunities to recognize students and staff. The mural at Dentzler is a full wingspan of eagle wings with the caption ‘Learning to Soar’, while John Muir’s is a larger-than-life Viking ship with colorful characters of all working together with oars and shields.
“We truly appreciate Kim and what she has created for us,” Emily McKim, Principal at John Muir, expressed. “Our theme is better together, and this year, we talk about being on a voyage and a ship together. Regardless of what is going on, we are all on the same ship, and now we have the ship in the building. It really brings everything and everyone together so much more. This has really meant the world to us and has made John Muir a very positive place to be.”
The mural at John Muir took about a week to create and paint, and after completing this design, Dentzler was eager to have something representative of their school on their walls.
“We were excited to see Kim's work at John Muir and reached out to them,” Renee Dzurnak, Principal at Dentzler, explained. “Kim was a Dentzler student and was willing to come over at the end of the summer. She designed the mural, and the students and staff have loved it.”
Earlier this month, John Muir held a dedication ceremony and honored Colarik for her work. Students read letters of appreciation and the staff presented her with flowers and a gift. The school also hung a plaque to commemorate her work.
Colarik, who is good friends with Kim Frey, a teacher at John Muir, said the school was very excited to have her create the Viking ship and gave her freedom to paint from her imagination. She was so appreciative of the opportunity to work on this project.
“This is a nice long wall, so there was a lot of space for me to create,” she described. “I had so much fun designing the characters and trying to get them to do their own little thing because it speaks to the individuality of everyone on board. They all have their own direction, but still together.”
Colarik has always loved art for as long as she can remember and shared that it feels great to give back to her community.
“To be able to do something in a place where so many kids can enjoy it is really a treat for me,” she expressed. “The whole purpose of art is to not just decorate the surroundings but make a positive impact and get people to think or to feel. If it does that, then it has done its job.”
Students all were eager to tell Colarik how they felt about her artwork, with students saying, “Every time I see the painting, I love it” and “Sometimes I come to school and take a minute to just look at it because I love it so much.”
“One of my favorite things in the world is to make children happy and I love to see children interact with my art,” Colarik shared. “It just makes me feel so warm inside and brings a smile to my face.”