MDI Students Use Artistic Talents to Help Local Business 

Catherine Pegram

Some young artists from Mount Desert Island High School are learning what it’s like to take their skills outside the classroom. During school vacation week, they’ve been commissioned to decorate the walls of a new business in Ellsworth.It’s not unusual for these half-a-dozen art students from MDI High School to break out in song, with paint brushes in hand.Senior Emily Schaefer says, “We’ve all known each other since we were really little anyways. We’ve grown up doing the same things and we’ve taken different art classes or done different art things.”Their current work will soon be on display at Motives Hair and Tanning Salon on Washington Street, thanks to co-owner Cynthia Johnston. “I was looking at the rooms and we’re doing themes in all of the rooms and I just decided it would be really, really nice to have murals on the walls. And being graduates from MDI, I thought – well, why not call the art department.”The paint project counts as community service for the students.It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot fun – even for Alyssa Murad who turned into a paint palette for the day.”They kind of had fun pretending to drop the paint on my arm and start a random paint fight. But I don’t fight back so i was the easy target for them to go on. And it’s okay – I like being the new mural.”Once the rural murals are finished, Bradley Thurston says he hopes they’re something customers will really enjoy.”I hope they just think it’s a like a nice, relaxing place and that it’s beautiful and it will help calm them down.”Johnston believes the students will get something out of this work as well.”I think what they’re going to take out of this is just a pride in doing something that people are going to look at every single day and they’re going to feel good when they look at it.”The students expect to finish their work by Friday. And the co-owners say the tanning side of the business should open in the next couple of weeks, with the hair salon to follow soon after that.