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It's Time to Paint: Levee Mural to Be Painted Saturday

The Monarch-Chesterfield Levee wall will soon be a 500-foot flood of color.

After months of planning, preparation and hard work, there's only one step left for the : actually painting it.

, a nonprofit community arts organization, is inviting community members to have a hand in the public art project. From , everyone can come to the wall at Baxter Road and Edison Avenue and help paint the 500-foot mural. 

Think that you shouldn't be trusted to draw a stick figure, yet alone contribute to a lasting public art project? Breathe a sigh of relief. It's a paint-by-numbers mural that incorporates about 50 different colors. Participants will be directed on exactly where to paint which color.

In that regard, it's similar to another public art project Chesterfield Arts organized. The organization's director, Stacey Morse, said Metro buses were turned into art by a paint-by-numbers project. Morse and her husband, artist Stuart Morse, also helped organize a similar project on the St. Louis Riverfront Trail. The 300-foot mural "Trail of Discovery" was painted in May 2006.

Saturday's Make Your Mark Mural Project is more than a year in the making. Talk began in January 2010 about the possibility of turning the bare, concrete wall, which was rebuilt after the Great Flood of 1993, into art.

"We saw a great opportunity with this new flood wall in Chesterfield Valley," Stacey Morse told Chesterfield Patch in November. "We thought it would be a great site for a community art project."

Chesterfield Arts got the OK from the flood wall's overseers—the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Monarch-Chesterfield Levee District and the City of Chesterfield—and the project began. The organization wanted the project to be a learning experience, so they recruited area students to help design the mural and organize the community painting day. About 50 students in grades eight through 12 have been working on the project since July 2010.

The kids, along with artist Stuart Morse, set to work planning the design for the mural. Scenes from the mural showcase the region's past and present. At one end, two explorers look over a wild expanse. At the other end, there's a cityscape. The day promises to create a Chesterfield landmark that will last for years to come. The mural is being painted awith industrial-strength paint, and Chesterfield Arts will do touch-ups when needed. 

For the last month, students and Chesterfield Arts staff have been preparing the wall for the mural. It's been  and . Last weekend, the background colors were painted on the wall and  with the help of projectors.

After the design was unveiled in early October 2010, students shifted gears and began to work on organizing and marketing the event. 

"There's other things going on too," Stacey Morse said of Saturday's event. The students involved in planning the event held auditions and booked three area middle and high school bands: Last Minute Run, Children of the Corn, and Feedback. There will be food, too. Both  and will be serving their specialties. Classic Chevrolets will also be on display—the Chevy Car Club will be there from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

"When else do you have the opportunity to bring the Chevy to the levee?" Stacey Morse said, laughing. 

If you go:
What:
 Make Your Mark Mural Project Community Painting Day
When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Monarch-Chesterfield Levee wall, located at the intersection of Baxter Road and Edison Avenue
Who: All members of the community are invited. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult.

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