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Mural Connects ESL Students With Education At Renton Technical College

A small arts project grant from the Renton Municipal Arts Commission made the project possible.

A white L-shaped wall in the lobby of the Basic Studies Department transformed into an artists’ canvas last fall after the program won a small arts project grant from the Renton Municipal Arts Commission.

Renton Technical College (RTC) staff and students, Renton Municipal Arts Commission members and Renton artist Doug Kyes celebrated the lobby’s completed makeover on Friday, Feb. 3.

Funded by a $250 small art project grant from the Renton Municipal Arts Commission awarded in September, ESL students in the Basic Studies program wasted no time in getting their ideas flowing.

Last October, 133 international students recorded images and words that fuel their educational journeys, said Liz Falconer, Curriculum and Technology.

Kyes, who volunteered his time for the project, collected the students’ drawings to design an all-inclusive mural. ESL students in the Property and Maintenance program cut wooden circles for the mural, giving it a three-dimensional feel, and the Facilities Maintenance Department also assisted with the project.

Housed in Building D, the Basic Studies program includes a computer lab, eight active classrooms, administrative offices, restrooms, resource and testing rooms, and a teacher’s room. More than 500 students enroll in the program each quarter, said Falconer.

This project is a unique and meaningful way to connect the international residents of our community to their school and society at large. It will be a shared activity that will remain on the wall for many years, and signify the significance and creative spirit of adult education, and allow students to take an active part in improving the environment of their daily lives and lives of those who will follow, Falconer wrote in the grant application.

The Renton community selected the RTC’s Basic Studies mural project by popular vote at its first annual Fall Equinox event, coordinated by the Renton Municipal Arts Commission to celebrate the City's arts and gather input to improve Renton's artistic community, said Community Development Project Manager Jennifer Davis Hayes. The Commission will host a Spring Art Equinox event on March 22, 2012, 6 – 8 pm

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