AP 3D students collaborate with public library to create art mural

After working since Sept. 12, two AP 3D art students are finalizing a community tile project about what East Lansing means to them in preparation for a final reveal of their work in 2023.

Art teacher Elise Millard was approached in early August by the East Lansing Public Library and Arts Commission about making the centerpiece for a mural made up of tiles painted by local children about what East Lansing means to them. Millard asked two of her AP 3D art students to make three 25×25 inch tiles as a centerpiece for the project. This was a special opportunity, as the AP 3D class didn’t usually get opportunities to publicly display their art.

Ev Holbrook (11) glazes a tile for mural project Photo by Quinn Martin

“I was excited to have the physical work out in the community,” Millard said.

One of the artists, Ev Holbrook (11), was chosen to help make the tiling project and took time to think about what East Lansing meant to them. They thought about how much more accepting the East Lansing community was compared to their previous home in Eaton Rapids.

“In East Lansing, you can be yourself much more than you can in other areas,” Holbrook said.

The other chosen artist, Ayla Schnepp, (12) has lived in East Lansing their whole life, and was also appreciative of the  community. When traveling outside East Lansing , Schnepp  also found stark differences, many communities being less accepting of the LGBTQ+ community. This is what they love about East Lansing, and want to make part of the mural.

“I think that gave me an optimistic outlook because I’ve never really seen how bad it can be in other places,” Schnepp said.

The community is represented in the mural in many ways, mostly through stylized representation of places on Michigan State University’s (MSU) campus. The part of the community that was both artists’ main inspiration is represented by a row of people along the bottom of the project that are of all body types and ethnicities.

Several of the tiles painted by local children Photo by Joseph Powers

“[For the project], diversity was the big thing,” Schnepp said. “What [that] means to us is basically what the culture of MSU means to us. And that just represents East Lansing in general.”

After working on the project for as long as they have, Schnepp and Holbrook are preparing to set the mural. While they do not know where or when it will be unveiled to the public, they are both excited for the project to be in the community. Holbrook says that they are thankful for the opportunity to work on the project and would never have done it without the help of Schnepp.

“I wouldn’t be willing to do it for another class,” Holbrook said.