PIQUA — One local student used her artistic talent to create a unique portrayal of American literature at Piqua High School.
PHS junior Heather Lacey spent the last year painting a mural of different scenes from American literature in an English classroom.
“She’s a hard worker,” English teacher Kristina McKenzie said.
Previous senior students had already drawn out parts of the mural, and McKenzie was looking for another student to finish the overall painting when Lacey came forward and offered to do it. It became part of an independent study for Lacey’s Art 3 class.
“Everything is American literature pieces,” McKenzie said about the mural. “It’s based off of our curriculum.”
The mural portrays different scenes and symbolism in the stories and books that students read in 11th grade English, starting with early American writing going to the Puritan Period, the Romanticism Period, Modern Literature, and Post-Modern Literature.
The mural is a progression of those periods in five different sections, beginning with a portrait of a Native American holding a fawn. Then the mural moves to a portrayal of “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller, then the “Mask of the Red Death” by Edgar Allan Poe, then “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and ending on “The Things They Carried” by Tim O’Brien.
“I try to make my paintings flow,” Lacey said.
Lacey explained that some of the different parts of the mural were trial and error for her, like the large tree in section for “The Great Gatsby.” In addition, while previous students had drawn out parts of the mural, Lacey still had sections that she needed to fill out herself, like the background in “The Things They Carried.”
Lacey also noted that her strong suit is animals, and the mural included a few of them, such as a fawn, a cat, a snake, and so on.
Lacey has also been creating art for as long as she can remember, which made her a good fit for this extensive project.
“I’ve been painting since I could walk,” Lacey said. “I love to draw. I love to paint.”
While art is a passion of Lacey’s, it is not in her plans for a future career as Lacey plans on pursuing a career in marine biology.
“Art is more of a hobby of mine,” Lacey said.
Overall, McKenzie and Lacey are happy with the finished product. “I love it. I absolutely love it,” McKenzie said.
McKenzie also noted that Lacey painted “The Great Gatsby” section before she finished reading the novel, so Lacey was painting symbolism pieces in the mural that she did not know the full meaning behind yet. Lacey’s own painting brought “The Great Gatsby” to life, as she read the novel while she was painting that section of the mural, and Lacey realized the importance of the things she was painting — such as the green light and the yellow car — as she was painting them.
“I love it,” Lacey said. “It was definitely fun. I would do it for another class if I could.”
Reach Sam Wildow at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 451-3336