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Old 03-27-2012, 02:39 PM
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Sherry Pettey Sherry Pettey is offline
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The Joplin High School Mural

Last spring, on May 22, 2011, the town of Joplin was devastated by a monster tornado that took out a third of the town, including the only public high school in the city. Ironically, this happened on Graduation Day. Since then, there has been hardship and hope, and our area is recovering, slow but sure. Since the high school building was directly hit by the tornado, there was a frantic effort to find building space to house the students on time for the 2011 fall season, and it was achieved. I was asked to paint a mural for the 9th and 10th grade campus, (which was temporarily put in the old middle school building), because the white walls had nothing to identify this building as being a high school. The 11th and 12 grade went to a refurbished vacant mall store. The panels tell the story in four stages, and a fifth will be added when the new Joplin High School building is built to open in the fall of 2014, although there may be delays on that time. (Each panel was built from mdg board, measuring 12' x 5', to fit the dimensions of the hall above the lockers).

Panel One: The Joplin High School before the tornado, with the two mascots that represent two older high schools which consolidated in the late l980's.

Panel Two: The day of destruction, with the high school building in ruins. The eagle is now the current mascot, and the eagles carved out of tornado trees were donated by chainsaw artists who came in almost immediately to give Joplin some encouragement. Someone also duct taped the letters "H" and "E" for the battered high school sign which previously read "Joplin High School." The tornado actually tore off some of the letters that formed the word Joplin.

Panel Three: The desperate but workable solution to keep the high school going was to use what little was left to house the students temporarily, until the new building can be finished. To the left is the 9th and 10th grade campus, (Old downtown middle school), and to the right, the 11th and 12 grade....now located at the mall.

Panel Four: The planning stages, very intense, to restore the normalcy of high school in spite of the fact that all high school books and equipment was lost, along with the actual building.

It has been a painful year, but we are going to make it. None of my immediate family was injured or lost property in the tornado's fury, but we know many people who had to start anew....but the thousands upon thousands of good people who came in to volunteer helping the city...they cannot be thanked enough.
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Old 03-27-2012, 02:44 PM
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Sherry Pettey Sherry Pettey is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

Here are the panels, installed, at the 9th and 10th grade Joplin High School campus. The mural will be transferred to the entrance foyer of the new high school when it is built.

Sherry
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:08 PM
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mariposa-art mariposa-art is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

That's just beautiful. You've done a wonderful job with this.
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Old 03-27-2012, 07:43 PM
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Autumnwillow Autumnwillow is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

What a wonderfully inspiring tribute! Very nicely done, Sherry. Can I ask what "mdg" is? Not familiar with it... any info you can provide is very appreciated- is it heavy (compared to, say, plywood)? Expensive? How did you hang it?

We get so many people asking about murals on a surface, that all info is helpful. I've painted on PVC panels (Sintra or Komatex), which is a great surface that seems to hold paint well, and depending on where it will be installed, is pretty light (interior use. Exterior needs to be thicker and therefore is pretty heavy). But it's pretty expensive... the thinnest is about $65 a 4x8 ft sheet, and it goes up up up from there for the thicker stuff...

Great to see you again, and so happy you're working!

Michele
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Old 03-28-2012, 12:02 AM
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Sherry Pettey Sherry Pettey is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

Mariposa~Thank you for your very kind compliments~I appreciate it!

Michele: Thank you also. Call it a typo, I meant mdf board. It is better utilized than plyboard for the surface isn't as "grainy", but it is touchy to climate, so it has to be primed back and front, and varnished. You can get it at most lumber places.

The climate for art has been weak for some time, and the tornado really hit our region hard. I have had a change of attitude, more towards appreciating what I do have, for many have lost everything, including loved ones. It's been tough, but the attitude of many of my neighbors helps reinforce the "can do" attitude with me, even if things look temporarily bleak. I am working on another mural job...more like a commercial advertising collection of illustrations on a candy shop, and may post that when the job is done....and I am grateful for every job that I get, when there are so many other things that people have to worry about here. (By the way, I'm glad to be back).

Sherry
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Old 03-28-2012, 09:56 PM
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Autumnwillow Autumnwillow is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

I was wondering if it was a typo

Well, I'm glad you're back, too, and that you're getting work. Being grateful is something I remind myself to be every day...
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Old 03-29-2012, 07:33 AM
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nzuriel nzuriel is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

Wow! Nicely done! Thanks for sharing it
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:56 AM
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Sherry Pettey Sherry Pettey is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

Nzuriel: Thank you for your encouraging comments. I was debating with myself about posting this, but there has been so many positive things that resulted from this mural, from appreciation of the school district, to media coverage, also people remarking how much they appreciate the mural when they find out that I am the artist that did it. This was more than just painting a mural to me~it was something that I wanted to do for the city of Joplin, to add one more ray of hope of encouragement to many Joplinites while the city rebuilds.

Sherry
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Old 04-05-2012, 06:34 AM
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Carmella Carmella is offline
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Re: The Joplin High School Mural

Beautiful work, both of art and love.

Carmella
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