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CCHS Student Artists Share their Talent with the City of Puyallup

February 26, 2016
By Kristy Bingham, Chronicle writer

The residents of Puyallup will be enjoying the talents of several Cascade Christian student artists on a daily basis for years to come.

Under the direction of art and drama teacher Jonathan Engbers, the students at the high school have created an outdoor mural for all to enjoy. The finished mural is being displayed on the Cornforth-Campbell Building, across from 3rd Street Antiques in downtown Puyallup.

Engbers said that the mural is a commissioned artwork.

In the winter of 2015, the Mayor of Puyallup's office sent an email to High School Principal Dr. Ken Friesen, asking if Engbers would be interested in working on a mural for the city. Engbers agreed and, after a few roadblocks, the project was put on hold until students returned from summer vacation.

The original project presented to Engbers was for each of the area high schools to do a mural with a pre-chosen idea. The plan was for the mural to be a 10 by 20 foot aerial map of the downtown area, showing the front of each building.

However, knowing the talent of his students, Engbers, over the course of six months, was able to convince the mayor to change the vision. The new agreement elevated the scope of the project, which now involved highlighting the downtown area of Puyallup.

"The mural now is loosely based on a shot from the top of City Hall looking north on Meridian," Engbers elaborated. "The images inside the letters were chosen by the students as well as myself."

Once the new mural plan was confirmed, Engbers said it took him and his students many hours over a six-week period to complete the new addition to the arts in the Puyallup community.

He is proud of his students for diligently working on something the community as a whole can enjoy, and added that, as a teacher, he found a huge satisfaction in their accomplishment.

"I loved watching these students learn as they went," Engbers said. "They got better at making decisions based on the general viewer rather than what they personally wanted. They also learned a new way to paint."

From the student perspective, Junior Greta Hale explained that participating in a project of this scope was a unique experience. "I really enjoyed working on the mural because I got to put my artistic abilities to the test," Hale reflected. "I had a lot of fun and I'm sad that it's over."

Aware of the time and effort his students put into this project, Engbers said he hopes the residents of Puyallup "like it and appreciate the time and effort put into it by the students."

With a smile he added, "And I hope they think it is better than the ones done by the larger schools. But that’s just me being competitive."