Reconstructing community history.
Our historical journey began when students in a summer mural class reconstructed a mural that was originally created by a prominent community artist in the late 1960s. The mural depicted the life and people of Laclede County and was displayed in the Lebanon courthouse from 1968 until 1995. Unfortunately, the mural had to be demolished due to renovations to the building. The summer art students gave the painting its rebirth as they rebuilt the historical work using old photos and segments of the wall as a resource.
The historical journey continued its legacy through gifts from the Lebanon Arts Council and the Lebanon Arts Foundation. With donations from these groups, a select group of Lebanon High School students organized an exhibition of photographs in the renovated courthouse. The exhibition consisted of a dozen black-and-white photographs. These photographs mirrored the mural and the subjects it once depicted.
For several months, students explored the rich history of the community and dedicated their time to small details. Angela Mizer, the main photographer, initiated the research project in hopes of pinpointing the exact locations of the subjects once depicted in the original mural.
Using the reconstructed mural as a blueprint, the photographers traveled the area looking for the original buildings. Unfortunately, some were no longer standing.
Students were responsible for the entire generation of the project--from research of locations to printing and presentation of photographs. Students were proud of the way the final exhibition of matted and framed photographs turned out by taking time and having faith in what could be accomplished.
Amy Shields is an art teacher at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Missouri.
Students initiate, define, and solve challenging visual arts problems independently, using intellectual skills such as analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.