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FIU frat brothers and art students help kids create mural for Miami Children’s

Campers at the FIU Frost Art Museum’s Youth Cultural Arts and Community Service Summer camp, along with fraternity brothers, art students and other volunteers, create a colorful mural for a Miami Children’s Hospital facility in West Kendall.

By Rodolfo Roman

Special to the Miami Herald

Victoria Torres, 10, said she was lucky her school once took her on a field trip to Everglades National Park.

Having seen the native wildlife firsthand came in handy on Tuesday, as she and other summer campers helped paint a mural at Florida International University celebrating Florida’s flora and fauna.

“It feels good to paint, since I saw them,” said Victoria, a student at Saint Timothy Parish School in West Miami-Dade, after she colored an ibis. “It’s easy to paint them.”

Torres and about a dozen other children between the ages of 6 to 12 years old are part of the FIU Frost Art Museum’s Youth Cultural Arts and Community Service Summer camp.

The mural — titled “Worlds Ahead” — will be displayed permanently at the Miami Children’s Hospital West Kendall Ambulatory Care Center.

Victoria, who will be going to fifth grade this coming school year, said she felt happy about her efforts.

“I was thinking on how these people worked to paint the best they can,” she said. “I hope it makes some other kids feel better. They now can think they are going to be OK.”

Roumiana Katzarkov, Miami Children’s medical library director, said the art piece will bring smiles to ailing youngsters.

“We strongly believe that art has a healing factor in everyone who sees it or participates in it,” she said.

Katzarkov said the painting will fit well at the hospital.

“This brings art to the hospital and it has a meaning because it is created by children,” she said

The children also had help from FIU’s Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and Miami’s MLK Community Mural Project Team. The two-day project was completed using acrylic paints on a two-inch think plywood, nine feet long and five feet high.

The Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity donated paints, brushes and tarps for the project. FIU art graduate students designed the mural and helped finish the final product. In all, about 50 people collaborated.

Jonathan Jacobskind, 19, a member of Pi Kappa Alpha, said the group used National Geographic books for color references.

“It makes me feel like I accomplished something,” said Jacobskind, who is studying broadcast journalism. “It’s great to know I have an impact on a child’s life.”

Artist and Miami’s MLK Community Mural Project team member Alex Douyon said art is a way of understanding children.

“Painting is the medium where kids can express themselves,” he said. “People can communicate through painting and we can help them.”

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