High school artists leave marks on Naperville parking garage
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Jianna Mirabelli is inspired every day by the strength her mother JoAnn has shown during her battle with breast cancer.
Both believe they have a positive future ahead of them.
While the Naperville North High School senior is confident her mother's fight will be short-lived as her condition improves, Mirabelli has chosen to share that strength with all of Naperville through the centerpiece in the fourth floor elevator waiting area of the downtown Van Buren parking garage.
Her mural depicts herself helping a young child with cancer while her mom looks on with approval.
"My mom watches over me all the time. She's taking care of herself and always looking out for me," Mirabelli said. "What better way to show how proud I am than to put it in a mural that everyone who comes to Naperville can see."
KidsMatter, a nonprofit organization charged with empowering youths and families with tools to effectively manage the stresses of everyday life, was awarded a grant from Naperville's Century Walk Corp. to work with artist Timm Etters to create a Naperville-themed Way Finding System and murals to enliven the Van Buren garage.
Since 1993, Etters, has painted more than 60 murals in and around Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204 schools.
"The dedication these kids have shown and the heart they put into their murals is motivating," Etters said.
Because students are only allowed to work on the mural outside of school as an independent study class, the fourth and third floors will be completed by the end of September. Naperville North students are painting the fourth floor and Waubonsie Valley students are painting the third floor. Naperville Central students kicked off the project last year on the fifth floor.
The second and first floors will be painted next summer by Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley students respectively.
The design theme for each of the five parking levels are based on the colors and mascots of one of the five public high schools — North, Central, Waubonsie Valley, Neuqua Valley and Metea Valley.
Each group of students will develop a theme around their choice of several developmental assets, or qualities that influence choices young people make and help them become caring, responsible adults.
The North students chose to paint a positive image from their futures while Waubonsie students chose to paint what empowers them.
Recent North graduate Rosey Denton gives us a glimpse into her future with her piece on the third floor.
"I don't think I'll ever have a singing career but I'm hoping to work in a digital media with special effects to enhance the meanings of movies and music videos," said Denton, who leaves Saturday to study arts and humanities at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh."That's my positive view of my future."
All five floors are scheduled to be completed by the end of the summer of 2012 and will be added to the city's collection of Century Walk outdoor public art pieces.
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