White Center Muralists Have Hopes in the Arts

by Margaret Ryan

Katia Nims and Binh Hoang, along with three of their fellow muralists, were present at the grand unveiling of the 96-foot long mural painted on the side of Saar’s Super Saver grocery on Tuesday, October 2.

It was a multi-cultural group of student artists: for, example, Binh’s parents came from Vietnam and Katia’s from Greece. Aptly so, because the mission of the mural was to depict the cultural diversity of people and food in white Center.

Binh’s job was to research what type of food to portray in the mural. He went online to research different cuisine from various countries. He also visited the international grocery shops in White Center to see what items were displayed. After that, he visited Super Saver to view what was being sold there. Based on his research, Binh designed images of the foods that he felt were most representative of White Center. With Katia’s help, he painted these images on this celebratory mural – the biggest in the community.

Katia is a very independent teenager, who is determining her future on her own. She will pursue a career in the arts – probably a combination of art and music, since she is a piano player and singer, as well as an artist. Both she and Binh want to pursue college course work after high school graduation, with Binh pinning his hopes on Cornish School of the Arts in Seattle.

When both artists were asked what they got out of participating in this mural project (200 hours of volunteer time), Binh responded that the mural was “good for White Center”, and Katia added that it made her feel she was “part of something” that brought the students closer together as they collaborated and assisted each other on this accomplishment.

This project would not have happened without the inspiration and support of White Center Chamber of Commerce President, Mark Ufkes, and some key staff at Arts and Academic Academy at the Evergreen Campus: Norma Barrineau, Principal, Amanda Schmidt, art instructor, and Ray Zombro, counselor. Ms. Barrineau states that the Academy is not just for artists, but preparation for careers in any professional field. “We teach kids to think outside the box and be creative problem solvers”.

This amazing mural is evidence of that claim (click image to see larger version):

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