Sarah Cooper, senior, leads plans to brighten Youth Villages with colorful mural

Astounded by the dull surroundings on a recent service project with the National Honors Society at the Clackamas River Campus of Youth Villages Oregon, Sarah Cooper, senior, saw a need for a change.

“There was no color,” Cooper said. “When you think of a playground, you think of bright colors, not just a lot of gray. As a kid, I always loved all of the colors. I think colors and art can brighten a kid’s mood and just make things more fun.”

Members of the National Honors Society tended to the playground at Youth Villages, which provides residential treatment for children with serious emotional and behavioral problems. For their latest art-based service project they trimmed bushes, made a path out of wood chips, and filled sandboxes. While Cooper hauled sand in the pouring rain, she couldn’t help but think how depressing her surroundings were.

“I thought that if the Arts Honor Society could come and paint murals for the kids—add some color—it might be a bit happier,” Cooper said.

Cooper talked with other members, and they all agreed that a mural would be the perfect opportunity to service the community through art.

“It’s fabulous,” Diane Gauthier, Arts Honors Society adviser, said. “A remarkable opportunity, and we are looking forward to collaborating with Youth Villages.”

Cooper and the Art Honors Society then communicated with Youth Villages administrators in an effort to move plans forward, and all signs point to this mural happening.

“We will hopefully be able to paint the mural in the spring. We still need to get the OK from one of the administrators at Youth Villages and figure out all of the details though,” Cooper said.

Cooper and many of her fellow members of Art Honors Society eagerly await the response from Youth Villages, hoping that they will get the chance to make a difference through artwork.

“I was thinking of making the mural a scene of kids playing outside, or even something like a rainbow. I just want it to make people stop and look, and hopefully brighten their day,” Cooper said.