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‘Amazing Alphabet’ mural stretches from alligator to zebra

Wyoming An animal alphabet mural will soon add creative (and alliterative) critters to the kindergarten hallway at Oriole Park Elementary School.

Students in Laura Sluys’ classroom recently worked with teaching artist Vickie Marnich-Reynolds, from Artists Creating Together, to create a permanent mural for the school. The Grand Rapids-based nonprofit organization empowers individuals with disabilities to learn, grow and celebrate through the arts. Sluys has received a grant from the organization for the past several years.

Students presented their letters to kindergartners recently, including C, “the cat who craved candy corn,” E, “an elephant eating an Easter egg,” and F, a “fancy feathered F with a flower.”

The focus of the several-session project was transformation through art, said teacher Laura Sluys, whose students also used materials, beads, and other items to create murals of their names. They each contributed ideas to create the Amazing Alphabet mural. 

“I said there might be one more thing we could add on the alligator — angry eyebrows,” said fourth-grader Numees MacSauby. 

“I love having the kids do something that they can point to later and say, ‘I did that,’” said Sluys, who has involved her students in other permanent art projects for Oriole Park as well. Before the district renovated the school, an alphabet mural was painted in the hallway; this new project will replace it.

“There’s pride in it, and a sense of accomplishment to have your art displayed,” she said.

Read more from Wyoming:
School celebrates orchard with new trees
An artistic extravaganza

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Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese
Erin Albanese is managing editor and reporter, covering Kentwood, Lowell and Wyoming. She was one of the original SNN staff writers, helping launch the site in 2013, and enjoys fulfilling the mission of sharing the stories of public education. She has worked as a journalist in the Grand Rapids area since 2000. A graduate of Central Michigan University, she has written for The Grand Rapids Press, Advance Newspapers, On-the-Town Magazine and Group Tour Media. Read Erin's full bio


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