Sun City Grand seniors’ mural rejuvenates Phoenix school

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“A group of seniors spent the week rejuvenating a Phoenix charter school’s playground.

About 90 volunteers led by Joann Fennell, 60, of Sun City Grand and her friend, Dodie Ballantine, painted a four-scene mural at Imagine Schools at Cortez Park, 3535 W. Dunlap Ave.

One-third of the volunteers are artists, while the rest are Fennell’s golf partners and neighbors in Sun City Grand, Fennell said.

Fennell and Ballantine were at a meeting when they saw the school’s playground. “It kind of looked like a prison wall,” Fennell said.

Ballantine, a professional portraits painter, insisted that a mural would improve the atmosphere of the playground, Fennell said. After weeks of planning, the project took shape.

Four scenes were painted, including a 100-foot aquatic scene with whales, boats and sea turtles. The other scenes feature a safari landscape, a map of the United States and a world map.

Parents and staff cleaned the area last Saturday. Painting began on Monday and was expected to be finished Thursday.

Students of the K-8 charter school will contribute handprints to the world map upon completion.

Imagine at Cortez Park is one 73 schools in 12 states operated by Imagine Schools. More than 40,000 students are enrolled at Imagine schools nationwide.”

Article published on March 21, 2011 by