- Associated Press - Monday, May 9, 2016

FOWLERVILLE, Mich. (AP) - When the principal at Fowlerville Junior High noticed how bland the school library’s walls were, she knew there was an opportunity for improvement.

“She approached me and told me that the library needed to be beautified. The walls and windows were covered with colored paper at the time. . The principal wanted it to look more inviting,” said Marcia Morehead, Fowlerville Junior High art teacher. “After I brainstormed, I thought a mosaic mural would look nice.”

After a year and a half of students designing, painting, grouting, cutting and gluing glass tiles, the Fowlerville Junior High School library is flaunting its new look - with a 30-foot-long mural designed and created by the school’s art club.

To finance the work, Morehead created a Donor’s Choose project, which is an online portal where teachers post projects for community members to donate funding toward, the Livingston Daily Press & Argus (http://bit.ly/26cRwrl ) reported.

“I got all of my funding through there, and was able to purchase all the supplies needed for this project,” said Morehead, noting the project cost roughly $1,350.

The mural covers a set of windows in the library.

After Morehead purchased the supplies, she started an after-school art club students could take part in once a week. Morehead had 75 students join last year when the project first started, and around the same number joined this year.

“I was happy to see returning students as well as some new faces,” Morehead said. “The organization component of the project was a tad difficult with that amount of students, because you had to make sure they were all on the same page. But we made it work.”

Students sketched out ideas to help inspire knowledge and learning. Once the ideas were selected, students began to put their ideas on panels to paint.

Morehead said the most tedious part of the project was gluing the tiles.

“It took so long,” Morehead said. “I believe it was around seven to eight months of just gluing.”

The kids then learned how to grout and clean the tiles once they were in place.

“When the parents came to see the final product, I think they understood the magnitude of this project because of grouting and what not,” Morehead said. “They were all just so proud. The kids did a great job.”

Maintenance staff mounted the panels to the library walls several weeks ago, which was a triumphant moment for the students involved in creating the mural.

“This project was very student-lead and student-driven. I had very little to do hands-on,” Morehead said. “It’s beautiful - and I could not be more proud of my students and all the time, patience and creativity they put into this project.”

Morehead hopes to conduct similar student-driven projects to help bring more art to the school and the community.

“I want the students to understand the importance of art and for the community to enjoy a more visual presence,” Morehead said.

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Information from: Livingston Daily Press & Argus, http://www.livingstondaily.com

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