Summit Cove Elementary dedicates mural |

Summit Cove Elementary dedicates mural

Reid Williams

SUMMIT COVE – Every day for the past six weeks, Summit Cove Elementary students puzzled over the shapes and swatches of color growing on the large wall of the school’s lobby.

Teachers told them as they filed by about the mural that would decorate the wall, but some were confused at first by the flat, brown splotches that didn’t look like animals, trees or mountains. Confusion became amazement, however, and Thursday the school dedicated its wetlands mural – a 10-by-30-foot panorama of alpine flora, fauna and topography.

“I tried to teach them something,” said lead artist Bonnie Norling-Wakeman, whose murals adorn homes and businesses around Summit County. “I took them outside to study color values – that’s why it started off as a big, brown wall.”

Norling-Wakeman enlisted the help of two art-inclined parents, Carrie Denkinger and Jill O’Connor, and the brushes of 34 Summit Cove students. A small group of students designed the mural. They looked to the wetlands neighboring the school for inspiration and researched pictures of animals, trees and scenery in the school library. The design team created a small-scale sketch and used a grid system to plot the images onto the wall.

The artists began planning the mural last spring, and painting began six weeks ago.

Norling-Wakeman said she was apprehensive about having children tackle such a large canvas, but the students’ enthusiasm quickly alleviated any fears.

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“I had to find a balance between a kids’ mural and a professional mural,” she said. “But the best part of this has been the kids. They get so attached. They give you hugs. And every day when they walked by, just to look at their faces and hear their comments was great.”

Fifth-grader Sam Provorse was part of the design team and said the feedback from his peers was “cool.”

“It was fun sketching it on the wall and having everybody walk by,” Provorse said.

Grants from the school’s parent-teacher-student association, the student council and the Summit County Arts Council with funding from the Summit Foundation gave the school the resources to complete the mural. Diamond Vogel donated the paint.

Community members can view the mural during school hours after checking in at the school office.

Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or