Kids Club painters included Kristyn Granger, left, Jennifer Galvan, Karina Hernandez, and Shantel Andrade.When Madras Kids Club wanted to brighten up the blank, white walls of a classroom, staff member Kristyn Granger stepped up with an idea – create a mural.

“We selected some of the older kids for the project, as sort of a leadership role,” she said, noting they discussed doing forest, ocean or jungle themed paintings.

“The kids picked ocean, and it took on a “Nemo” theme with cartoon characters from the movie. Over the summer, we worked three hours every day for three months on the mural,” Granger said.

Granger said she has always liked to draw and noted, “You don’t often get the opportunity to paint over 100 feet of wall space. This is the biggest project I’ve ever done.”

The long hallway leading to the classroom is painted with a blue and green wave pattern to resemble a water tunnel. Among the waves is a quote from the “Nemo” movie, “You know what you got to do when life gets you down? … Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.”

The students were busy using rollers to paint the entire length of the walls blue, then added yellow sand on the bottom.

Granger made sketches of characters in the movie including Nemo the fish, a shark, turtle, and jellyfish, then projected them at a larger size on the wall, and traced them.

While she painted the main characters, the students decided where to place them, and painted details, like the seaweed, starfish, and other underwater features.

“It was different having kids involved. They got really quiet, concentrating on painting. We played music and they zoned out and did their own things,” Granger said.

Now when students come into the formerly drab room, she said of the colorful mural, “The kids love it when they see it.”

Since then, I’ve been invited by parents to paint murals in different kids' rooms,” she said.

Kids Club Director Joe McHaney was also impressed. “We’re extremely pleased with the effort and feel very fortunate to get this kind of product and overall look at Westside over the summer, and I think the kids learned a lot, too.”

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