The murals and young people…a winning combination
From the beginning Viva Cuba thought it was important to include young people in the mural project so that they would feel ownership of the town’s art and history.
With that in mind, Viva Cuba prepared a written curriculum for each of the murals that tells the story behind each mural.A vocabulary section, a fill-in-the-blank section, as well as thinking questions, are included in the curriculum.
Cuba students (and their parents) study these handouts during Missouri History Week in the spring.The third weekend in October, Viva Cuba provides narrated mural tours aboard a 1904-style motorized trolley.Some of Cuba’s young people take these tours and often show their knowledge that they have gained from the mural curriculum, thus impressing their parents and Viva Cuba members.
In 2008, Viva Cuba sponsored their first summer walking tour of the murals for 8-12 year olds and hopes to provide more tours in the future. Students learned of the visits of Bette Davis, Harry Truman, and Amelia Earhart and gained a few facts about Route 66, the famous road that intersects Cuba.
Young people have helped Viva Cuba with special projects such as the spring Trash Bash and planting flowers around town.Viva Cuba would like to recruit students to be on the Viva Cuba committee during the summer.
Chip Lange, fifteen at the time, used the Viva Cuba Civil War murals as his Eagle Scout Project.Chip researched the Battle of Pilot Knob, artists, and other aspects of the murals. Chip raised over $21,000 in money and fund-raising that was matched with $15,000 by Viva Cuba to make the murals a reality.His family housed the California mural artist Don Gray while he was in town painting.To show his appreciation, Gray painted Lange into the Leasburg panel of the series.He is the young man with the red band on his hat. Chip was also interviewed for Show Me St. Louis TV program for the program that they did on Cuba’s murals.Needless to say, Chip received his Eagle Scout designation because of his extensive involvement with the mural project. As an update, Chip has now graduated from college and is attend Physician’s Assistant school.
Viva Cuba hopes to continue its association with the kids of Cuba.It is a winning combination.