“The students see that they are a small part of a big project and it’s very collaborative. That’s the family of a school. ” – Amy Putney Koenig

The buzz around Woodland Hills Elementary School this week is centered around the wall outside the principal’s office. Artist Amy Putney Koenig is working with every student in the school to create a colorful new mural. She met with students in the fall and talked about who they are as a school community, what they love, and how they want to feel when they walk through the doors each day. The result is an incredible piece of public art that will be a lasting reminder of students’ time at Woodland Hills.

“They wanted a watermelon, a pineapple with sunglasses, donuts at breakfast is a big deal here. A squirrel, all different languages that say hello, a rainbow, a unicorn,” said Putney Koenig. She took as many ideas as she could from students and staff. A centerpiece of the mural is a large giraffe, chosen because Woodland Hills adopted a giraffe at Blank Park Zoo and named it in honor of Principal Shumaker.

Every child in the school will have the chance to paint the mural during their art class. Kindergarten students even get to put their fingerprints in one section! Putney Koenig has been amazed by students’ reactions. “The wildness of time slows down. They get in it, and they’re just painting! It’s an awesome thing to be trusted to be able to come and share what I love to do, and I think it’s important to inspire kids to show you can be an artist and do your thing,” she said.

The waukee community schools foundation is proud to have provided the classroom grant to make this artful experience possible.
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