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Art Watch 2/11-2/18 

Over the most recent holiday break, Brittaney Toles, the art director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Oregon, decided that she wanted to transform the central dining and play area at the Boys & Girls Club in Bend. "The wall was dark and sad," she explained, indicating a structure that actually stretches over two walls, and sets a tone for the play space that includes a dining area filled with tables and an area with three foosball tables, and serves scores of local teens and pre-teens each week.

With a degree in arts education and a painter herself, Toles set about gathering artists, art supplies and, in general, going about the business of quickly designing an intricate mural. She wanted it to be ready when students returned after the holidays in early January.

"Like a Christmas present to them," she said, adding, "with only two weeks to complete it, we didn't know if we could pull it off. It was a pretty ambitious project and the artwork is incredibly complex and detailed."

The mural stretches the length of the room—about 40 feet total—and, all told, fills a busy horizon and is populated with a purple elephant, blocky Keith Harding icons, and characters from Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland. In the middle, Jack climbs a beanstalk, which reaches floor to ceiling.

"It is something to motivate the kids," said Toles, "to get them thinking in a creative way."

She points out a Helen Keller quote wrapped into an image of a rising sun, adding, "It is not just about playtime, but to think about their future."

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