Volunteers from all over Michigan have traveled to Rochester to make their mark on a community mural that will be placed along the Clinton River Trail in Rochester College’s Lake Norcentra Park this spring.
Rochester Hills resident and children’s book illustrator Christine Gibson, who won a mural contest last April that was hosted by Rochester College, said over 100 volunteers have pitched in thus far.
“The whole project is dependent on volunteer man hours,” Gibson explained. “I only picked up a paintbrush myself two weeks ago. My whole job has just been keeping it moving, so it’s really being painted by the community.”
The giant paint-by-numbers mural is being painted on 72 panels, each 5 feet by 5 feet, that will be placed — in consultation with Philadelphia muralist John Laidacker — on a wall facing a high-traffic area on the Clinton River Trail in Rochester College’s Lake Norcentra Park. The 1,800-square-foot public art landmark will be installed, wallpaper style, in May.
Since the work kicked off in December, people of all ages and abilities have stepped up to help out — the youngest being an 18-month-old girl.
“A family came with an 18-month-old who had a little roller, and she and Mom and Dad worked on the floor. I can tell you that the panel she did came out fantastic,” Gibson said.
Volunteers have hailed from Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland Township, and as far as Novi, Wixom, Lapeer and various other locales. A number of local schools and groups have hosted painting parties to assist in the process — including adults with special needs from Woodside Bible Church and students from Rising Stars Academy. Also helping out were the Friends of the Clinton River Trail, a team from Quicken Loans, students and staff from Lutheran High Northwest, students from Rochester High School’s National Honor Society, and students from Homeschool Connection.
“We have just been grateful for the community participation,” said Tom Rellinger, vice president of development, finance and operations at Rochester College.
Adults who still want to contribute to the mural can sign up for detailing sessions, which require adult-level painting ability, through early February at signup.com/go/6oAwoz. The project will most likely be completed around Feb. 11. A temporary studio is located at the Rochester Hills Department of Public Services facility, 511 Auburn Road in Rochester Hills.
“It has just been a great community project, and we are going to enjoy it when it’s done, and hopefully enjoy the park when we get it up and running,” Rellinger said.
Lake Norcentra Park will offer the public free access to outdoor art, food, leisure activities and nature, with direct access from the Clinton River Trail connecting to downtown Rochester. When complete, Lake Norcentra Park will also include concessions and a picnic garden accessible from the Clinton River Trail, public art installations, a bike parking and repair station, interpretive signage, fishing access, and gathering places for outdoor learning programs and social activities.
To get involved or to follow the mural’s progress, visit www.rc.edu/mural, www.facebook.com/groups/RochesterMural or www.facebook.com/lakenorcentrapark.