Class Paints Murals at Local Child Care Center

“Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.”

        – John Berger

This semester, Julia Kirchner’s Service Learning course, “Building Community,” is getting outside of the classroom and involved in the surrounding community. Over the past couple of weeks, they’ve been designing and painting murals at the Ebenezer Child Care Center in downtown Milwaukee. This is just one great example of how art can be used to benefit others.

Ebenezer Child Care has been open in Southeastern Wisconsin since 1968, and continues to commit itself to quality care for children from 4 weeks to 12 years of age. The center recognizes that the formative years of a child’s life have a critical impact on development into adulthood. With this in mind, Ebenezer asked MIAD service learners to paint murals at the downtown center, in order to create a welcoming and visually stimulating environment for the children. A room specifically for toddlers, ages 12 to 15 months, has appropriately been painted with a “goldfish” theme. Windows on three sides of the room allow children, parents, and visitors to see one another, suggesting the experience of being in a fishbowl! The center wanted something special and appealing to be painted in this room because of its high visibility. Another room, for school-aged youth ages 5 through 12, has also been painted with dinosaurs – always a popular theme for children, who enjoy both the scientific and fantasy sides of these creatures.

Murals have become a widely used method for community building during the last century, and have even been part of larger social movements. The service learners involved in the project at Ebenezer have exercised similar ideals on a smaller scale, strengthening ties among themselves and with staff members at the center. They have had to clearly communicate their ideas to one another, come to an agreement on the mural designs to be used, and work across differences in order to execute the paintings as a group.

The staff at Ebenezer is extremely appreciative of all the work that has been put in by MIAD students, and the resulting murals that will provide nourishment for the minds of its children. The students themselves have been able to enjoy the collaborative process of coming together to complete such an endeavor.

To learn more about Ebenezer Child Care Center, you can visit their website here:


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