Serve Jeff City Recap

May 8, 2013 by

My early-20 something self would have never believed I am about to say this:  I love art.

Art has never been “my thing.”  I spent an entire summer studying abroad in Spain, visiting museums like The Prado and the Reina Sofia and never felt like I really truly appreciated the experience.  I have always loved architecture (hello, Gaudi), but I can’t say I have always loved art.

More specifically, I love art in outdoor public spaces.  I think what Columbia is doing with their traffic boxes is insanely cool. So, I was excited to volunteer to help with one of JCMO’s own murals in April.

The project was part of Serve Jeff City.  The event is in its third year.  The premise is simple: a half-day community wide day of service.  This year, event organizers allowed community members to suggest projects.  Then, you voted for your favorite projects.  Then, you signed up to help.

Although the day was rainy and cold, the energy was electric. Councilman Ken Hussey stood on a milk crate with a megaphone announcing all the projects and the days events (that is, after a hearty pancake breakfast provided by Sen. Mike Kehoe).  Kids sat on parents’ shoulders.  Girl scout troops huddled together. There were cheers and high-fives.  Everyone was excited to start the day of giving back to our community.  Hundreds of volunteers flooded out of the parking garage to get to work.

Serve Jeff City - MuralI made my way to the mural site (on E. McCarty) that you see as you are about to cross the bridge.  Carla Steck had projected the image on the wall the night before.  I was joined by community members and several younger artists and high school students interested in pursuing art.  They got right to work painting the dog and airplane onto the blue and green wall.  You can read more about the project in the News Tribune.

I helped others pull weeds from the planter boxes that had been previously installed by the local 4-H Club.  Jane Beetem, who has and continues to oversee this sight as part of her work with 4-H, provided us with the paint for the mural and plants to update the planters.  We pulled up weeds, and helped make room for new plants — despite the continued rain and cool temperatures. Luckily, my parents happened to call mid-project from Coffee Zone, and delivered coffee to my friend Amber and I at the site.  Things were looking much better.

Serve Jeff City - Mural

It was great meeting several of the people in our group.  Several parents showed up with their kids to serve together.  That really impressed me.  I enjoyed hearing about others’ passion for art, and glad that they were more than capable to handle the painting (I am no artist).  We chatted about ways to incorporate more art in the city.  We even discussed the possibility of trying to get another art-related project approved before next year’s Serve Jeff City event!

I really enjoyed the morning.   What is even better is that the project we worked on was just one of 20 projects going on at the same time.  Congrats to all of the sponsors, organizers and volunteers on all of their hard work.

You can see more pictures from the day on the Serve Jeff City Facebook page.


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  1. I volunteered with my husband and our three kids (ages 4, 7 and 9). We loved giving back to our new community (only lived here for 10 months) and look forward to participating in the next Serve Jeff City. I too loved the energy of the whole group together at the start of the day!

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