Students paint cheer in Middlesboro

Published 3:04 pm Thursday, December 14, 2017

Downtown Middlesboro has some extra cheer this season thanks to Lincoln Memorial University art students who painted “The Twelve Days of Christmas” to decorate city fountains.

Under the direction of Brandon Lutterman, assistant professor and program director of fine arts at LMU, students painted lords-a-leaping, ladies dancing, maids-a-milking, and all the rest on four by eight foot sheets of pressure treated plywood.

“It’s fun for the students and it’s a good opportunity for them to build camaraderie and community,” Lutterman said.

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The students recently painted fall scenes on downtown business windows, which led to the idea for the Christmas project. With the city supplying the plywood and paint, Lutterman saw creating the decorations as a great way to give back and uplift the community.

Along with Lutterman, others who helped were Michael Giles, assistant professor of fine arts, and LMU students Hannah Rivers, Lise Malherbe, Abigail Evans, Alexis Doss, Madison Denny, Madison Booker and Ginger Overton. The students included art majors, students in the art club and students who have taken art classes and some who just enjoy painting.

“It was so much fun to get together with the art community to collaborate on one project,” said Doss. “It’s fulfilling to know that something you enjoy doing, like painting, can benefit the community.”

Lutterman spent about four hours hand drawing and 10 hours painting the images on the plywood, with the students painting them as well with the few hours they had between classes and other school obligations. The city also provided the heated space at the armory building/community center downtown to complete this process. The pieces were installed over the fountains at the downtown square and provided a backdrop for the annual Christmas parade on Dec. 2.

Several LMU students took part in the parade including students from the LMU-College of Veterinary Medicine, LMU-DeBusk College of Osteopathic Medicine, the LMU cheerleaders, and the J. Frank White Academy middle and high school cheerleaders, who won best cheer/dance routine. Summer Martin, director of marketing and public relations for medical programs at LMU, is on the Discover Downtown Middlesboro board and volunteered as the parade announcer.