MEDINA — Lions, elephants, hidden alligators and even an astronaut make up the colorful murals that adorn the walls of the Medina County Domestic Court’s Gift Exchange Center.
An open house was held Thursday afternoon where Domestic Relations Judge Mary Kovack presented certificates of appreciation to the five artists involved in the project.
“It kind of took a village,” Kovack said.
Kovack said it was during a program with lawyers that Alanna Arnold, then president of the Medina County Bar Association, suggested the facility be livened up for the children who go there for supervised visits with their parents.
“She got in touch with the Medina (County) Arts Council and they found us all these marvelous artists,” Kovack said.
Artist Paulette Grubb, who painted two of the murals, said the artists came together to discuss the project.
“Each of us has our own style, but we tried to use the same colors, so our palate was the same,” Grubb said. “It worked out pretty well, sort of unified it.”
Medina County Arts Council member and former art teacher Vicki Sheridan said she painted the jungle scene in the hallway just off the main room.
The piece includes a large green frog just above a drinking fountain.
“I wanted something that when the kids went to drink out of the drinking fountain something would be staring at them,” Sheridan said.
Retired art teacher Kathy Kraus incorporated her experiences from an African safari into her mural.
“I started to put in the animals and they have little referee hats and they are playing ball,” she said.
Kraus said her mural features some animals that are hidden within the painting.
“The kids were looking to see if they could find some things,” Kraus said. “Subtly you can find the crocodiles in the pond, but you’ve got to know to look.”
Medina High School seniors Emily Hathcock and Camerynn Ratliff ventured outside the jungle theme for their murals.
“I felt honored in the first place to even be approached about this,” Hathcock said.
Hathcock, who chose an outer space theme for her piece, said she wanted to do something that was cool and different.
The mural features an astronaut in space surrounded by stars and a rocket.
“I felt honored in the first place to even be approached about this,” she said.
Ratliff went below sea level and painted a shark and ocean scene.
“I am a huge fan of sharks and I am really mad that they have such a bad reputation,” Ratliff said.
“Whale sharks are the friendliest ones. They are really big and they can’t hurt you.”
Pat Chaloupek of the arts council served as chair of the project.
Chaloupek said discussions began in December with the artists finishing up their murals in April.
“The actual painting probably took about 2ﾽ weeks,” she said.
Paint and materials for the project were donated by the county bar association. County Auditor Mike Kovack also donated $250.
“It exceeds my expectations,” Kovack said. “It is so cheery now and child-friendly.”