“I hope they feel inspired” – Culpeper High Schools create mural at sports complex

Words of inspiration – Potential and Harmony – anchor a colorful new mural in front of the entrance to Culpeper County Sports Complex.

Art students from Culpeper County and Eastern View high schools worked with Culpeper County Parks & Recreation to transform the old, empty football wall into something eye-catching.

CCHS art teacher Marla Bell was on site with her 12th graders earlier this month to finish off her side of the wall with brushes, fingers and cans of brightly colored exterior paint.

Recreation coordinator Samantha Whitesides was there too, cheering her on as the project neared completion.

“Samantha gave us a prompt and it had to have a word that had something to do with parks and recreation, everything they do, and she wanted geometric shapes,” Bell said.

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Student Janelle Corum created the basic design, which revolved around the word “potential” in large yellow letters with a black outline. The mural shows the silhouettes of a cyclist, runner, javelin thrower and an artist.

It’s about open possibilities, Corum said of what it means for them.

“Just to inspire people in the community to look at that and build on what they’re seeing,” the student said. “I think it looks really great … it’s a really good vision for people to see.”

Working on a mural outdoors was a challenge, all the artists agreed. At the beginning of the process they painted the turquoise blue base and then it rained and dripped all over the canvas. Another day it was windy and cold. It was nearly 80 degrees on that particular day, the teens said.

“We came back the next day and had to make a lot of corrections,” Bell said. “Certainly a great learning curve, but overall they enjoyed getting together.”

Student Abby Wohlhueter hopes others will see the news.

“The potential for the community to impact youth, the potential to go places because it’s moving — there’s movement,” she said.

“I hope they feel inspired and understand that the youth of this community also have hope for the future.”

Student Josette Clancy noted that the mural project allowed them to earn service hours for the National Art Honor Society. It was a hands-on experience, she added.

“Because as we age, many of us want to pursue an art career. Having that art experience is really useful for a future career,” Clancy said.

Whitesides said it’s been a wonderful partnership.

“Before that, it was a plain white wall that had been there for a long time,” she said.

Her idea for the project was to make it a creative endeavor based on something that students would resonate with.

“That’s when they came up with ‘potential and harmony,’ which I think are two great words,” Whitesides said. “From my perspective as a recovery coordinator, we’re all about building relationships with different groups and individuals in the community, so that’s kind of speaking of that.”

The EVHS side of the mural depicts various sports, archery and football, along with the dramatic arts comedy tragedy masks.

“It’s a really diverse community. I know people think of Culpeper as a small town, but there are a lot of different interests here,” Whitesides said. “I’m really impressed with what they did, they were optimistic. I think it’s great that they work together.”

Student Allyson Williams agreed it was a good experience.

“The colors are really bold, it makes it stand out. I like that it faces the road so you can drive by and see it,” she said.

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