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A mural to give back

PHOTO BY SUSAN DICKSON. Sadie Rapp completed a mural on the side of Balanced Movement Studio to benefit the Painted Walls Project for her eighth-grade project at the Duke School.

By Susan Dickson
Staff Writer

When Duke School eighth-grader Sadie Rapp was presented with the challenge of creating a project that would give back to the community, she wasn’t sure where it would take her, though she knew it would have something to do with art.

She’d been toying with the visual aesthetic for as long as she could remember, so art was the first thing she thought of when she was assigned the project.

“I’ve always kind of been interested in murals,” she said. “The process is really interesting to me.”

So Sadie did some online research and came across an article about the Painted Walls Project, an effort by the Chapel Hill Preservation Society and the community to restore and preserve Chapel Hill’s downtown murals.

“All the murals around Chapel Hill mean a lot to me,” she said, so her own mural would be the perfect way for Sadie to give back.

Since February, Sadie has been painting a mural on the side of Balanced Movement Studio on Weaver Street, which she hopes to complete this week. The design of the mural was based on a painting she did about a year ago, after one of her teachers commissioned her to paint a small piece, with the caveat that it had to have something to do with dogs.

With three family dogs at home, Sadie had a good handle on her subject. But the more lifelike she painted the dogs, the less fun the project felt, so she began to focus on bright colors and almost cartoon-like shapes.

“I decided to go with a more Keith Haring-style,” she said. The finished product is a collage of 35 brightly colored dogs tumbling around a lost cat.

The dogs can be “adopted” for a $50 donation to the Preservation Society; the cat has already been auctioned off to one of Sadie’s classmates. Thus far, Sadie has raised more than $700 through adoptions, and all the money Sadie’s project raises will go toward restoring the enormous sea turtle mural on Rosemary Street.

The public is invited to an opening for the mural at Balanced Movement at 4 p.m. on Sunday.

Sadie plans to continue raising money for the Preservation Society until all the dogs are, in spirit, adopted. To adopt a dog, email Sadie at sadie.rapp@dukeschool.org and for more information about the Painted Walls Project, visit chapelhillpreservation.com

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