Roosevelt students decorate downtown

Meranda Watling

Two boys take turns painting a black Rough Rider’s image on the window of Spin-More Records in downtown Kent.

Although the pair, senior Pat Childers and junior Ciaran O’Keeffe, are both Theodore Roosevelt High School students, the image they are painting isn’t one of school pride as much as community pride.

Students from Theodore Roosevelt High School’s Art Club descended on downtown Kent yesterday to decorate storefronts, doors and windows of several downtown businesses with images celebrating the city and its bicentennial.

“We tried to find things important to Kent, things that matter to the town,” said Judy Atkins, art teacher and art club adviser at Roosevelt.

Included in this list were images as diverse as black squirrels and Kent State’s Golden Flash logo to the more complex representations of Standing Rock, tree city and glass blowing. Also tossed in were logos from the Bicentennial Committee, Kent Chamber of Commerce and the city of Kent.

The event, put on by the Bicentennial Committee and sponsored by Townhall II, linked Roosevelt students with downtown businesses. Several businesses also provided food and space for the group.

Across the street from Childers and O’Keeffe, seniors Chris Fritz and Sara O’Keeffe worked in the window of Flasher’s Fabric Care and Laundry taping off the outer edges of what will become the Bicentennial Committee’s logo.

“It’s not the most detailed image,” Fritz said of the logo. “But it has the most impact. This most represents the community.”

Twenty students in all participated yesterday working on 20 separate projects in pairs, Atkins said.

The projects are concentrated on Main and Water streets, where many businesses allowed students access to their windows.

Joe Giancola, assistant superintendent of Kent City School District and Bicentennial Committee member, said businesses were very receptive to the idea of students painting images in their windows.

Pat Morton, co-chair of the Bicentennial Committee, said it was thrilled with the community response, and the businesses were happy to accommodate.

“I wanted to be a part of it,” said Sherry Dakes, owner of Einstein’s Attic. “It’s nice for downtown Kent to take part in it; it’s just nice for the community.”

Brando Andexler, assistant manager of Spin-More Records, agreed.

“I was in art club when I was in high school, so I was excited to help,” said Andexler, who graduated from Roosevelt in 1993. “It’s a fun thing, and it’s good for the community. “

Many of the students were also excited to be a part of the project that showcased their work for the community. Among them was senior Jessica Krieger, art club president.

“It’s nice to be able to do something for the community that people will recognize and appreciate,” she said.

The bicentennial committee is planning more events that will work with the Kent schools. Currently they’re planning an art exhibit with the theme “My favorite place in Kent,” which they hope to incorporate with the upcoming art expo area elementary schools host each year.

Contact public affairs reporter Meranda Watling at [email protected].