Dane Arts Mural Arts and SAIL West High School students create art together.

In the spring of 2015, DAMA began working with SAIL West students to create a mural for the front of the Hoyt School building, where the SAIL program takes place. DAMA lead artists, Emida Roller and Alicia Rheal, worked with the students in both designing and painting the mural. The material they worked on is called "parachute cloth" and when finished, would be glued to exterior panels, and installed on the front of the Hoyt building.

During the painting process, it became clear to the artists that several of the students were intimidated and scared of working on the mural. "I don't want to ruin it;" "I'm not a good enough painter”; "I can't draw;” were all common statements. What the artists then started was an alternative "no rules, no wrong way to paint" table, in the same room as the progressing mural.

The "no rules" paint table was a HUGE hit. Students who had been afraid to pick up a brush now started playing with paint, combining color and texture, using different types and sizes of brushes, and trying different techniques. There was absolutely no failure - just fun and experimentation!

Students created yards and yards of beautiful, vibrant, playfully painted "parachute cloth." Along the way we discovered that this fabric lends itself perfectly to collage. The students were encouraged to cut out and piece together new images, mounting them onto scrap plywood or spare mat board. The completed art pieces are colorful, delightful, and chock full of energy - just like the students who created them! We hope you enjoy these pieces as much as we have enjoyed making them.

Dane Arts Mural Arts (DAMA) is a county wide program that is part of Dane Arts. Our purpose is to engage youth and community members in the mural arts process – providing opportunities to experience success through organized, hands-on, hard work.

SAIL West (Student Achievement through Individualized Learning) is a West High alternative program, whose mission is to expand the instructional opportunities for students who benefit from a non-traditional academic setting.

- Alicia Rheal, DAMA lead artist