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Ronan students create large murals on display at capitol

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RONAN — During the first half of the school year, K-4 students at K. William Harvey Elementary school finished a series of 19 murals titled: Historic Monochromatic Floor to Ceiling Pixelated Portraits. Eleven of the 19 portraits are currently on display in the rotunda of the capitol building in Helena until May 15 when remaining portraits will be rotated into the display. Using black and white historic photos of children from different Montana Indian tribes, students created huge paint-by-number murals. The 2x3 foot posters for the group project were prepared using yard sticks, rulers, pencils and erasers to create 1, 1.5 and 2-inch square grids. The student paintings are monochromatic using just one color but in all different shades and tints of the same color. According to art teacher Barnaby Smith, students learned valuable skills like teamwork, persistence and diligence through the creative process making the murals. The final products range between 6 to 9 feet tall, 4 to 14 feet wide and took about a semester to create. 

“I want to show that the little guys can do big things too,” Smith said. “I want the second and third graders to be able to look back and be like, ‘Wow, I did that.’ Most kids don’t realize that they can do great things until an adult tells them they can. I want them to realize they can do it by themselves.”

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