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Impact Stories

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UA+Ed Foundation Grant in Action: Wickliffe Mural Project

Tuesday, April 30, 2024 | Wickliffe Progressive School

On April 30, 2024, the Upper Arlington Education Foundation (UA+Ed) visited Wickliffe Progressive Elementary fifth graders and their art teacher, Lindsay Bennett, to see the creation of a large-scale mural in their gymnasium.

The Story Behind the Grant

UA+Ed’s Barbara (Buz) Hardy Endowment Fund for Visual Arts provided funding for the project. Buz was a beloved art teacher at Hastings Middle School during her 30-year teaching career. The fund was established through a generous bequest gift from her estate in 2011 and supports visual arts education at all grade levels.

The Project Each year, Wickliffe fifth graders brainstorm and share ideas and decide through a voting process the collaborative art project that they dedicate to the school at graduation. This year, the kids voted on creating a mural in the gym. With guidance from their art teacher, Lindsay Bennett, the students researched a variety of muralists and agreed that local artist Carly Mitchell’s style was perfect for their project. Students then discussed important themes and words they wanted to include to represent how they feel about their school. These themes included compassion, creativity, inclusion, and welcoming.

Columbus muralist, Carly Mitchell, helped bring the project to life. She created a cohesive design, integrating the 90 ideas submitted by children, and transferred the outline to the wall. The kids then put their paintbrushes into action and did the bulk of the painting.


This is the first time I’ve had helpers while doing a mural. These students have done an incredible job. The ability to have hands-on experiences like this at their age is powerful in showcasing art as both a passion and profession,” said Carly Mitchell.

This project is such a great example of how our students feel a sense of belonging and ownership at school,” said Lindsay Bennett.  “We engaged the whole learner by integrating art and math (finding the square footage of our mural, figuring out how much paint we need, and using a grid to take our small design and paint it on a huge wall).

The Lasting Impressions 

All 90 fifth graders participated in the brainstorming, design, planning, and creation of the mural. All 500 Wickliffe students, their families, and our alumni and visitors will be able to enjoy the mural each time they visit the gym for PE, weekly Town Meetings, choir concerts, and more.

The Upper Arlington Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that provides access to meaningful opportunities for students that are beyond the budget of the Upper Arlington School District. Established in 1985, UA+Ed is permanently structured to fund programs and projects today and for generations to come. The Upper Arlington Alumni Association is an important part of the foundation and keeps graduates connected, engaged, and motivated to pay it forward. 


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