College of Fine Arts and Design

UCO Art Department Collaborates with Crooked Oak Schools on Unique Mural

May 27, 2010painting the mural

University of Central Oklahoma Department of Art Professor Bob Palmer and Central art students recently collaborated with 2004 Central graduate Lisa Boyce and her art students at Crooked Oak Public School District to create a mural on the side wall of the district's Administration Building that, through nature, tells the story of a student's growth.
Boyce, an art teacher for the Crooked Oak district, wanted her students work on a project that would provide positive feedback for the school for years to come.

"Dr. Palmer and his students were wonderful in working with me and my kids.  My students said that it gave them a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a mural that will last years in our school district," said Boyce.
Though excited to participate, the Central art students said, at first, the younger students needed some coaxing to begin.

"They were afraid that if they helped us, they would mess up the mural," said Central art student Tony Panizzo.

However, with a little encouragement, they put paint to brush and joined Central students to create a mural that represents, through the life of a tree, the progression of a student through the different school levels.

The first section of the mural has acorns and leaves in the wind and on the ground representing the youth in the elementary school and how they need a little water and sun to grow. The second section features young saplings, representing the middle school students and how growth often occurs in measurable progress. The third and final section of the mural shows full-grown oak trees progressing into older oak trees representing high school and beyond as in high school, students reach maturity on many levels and are expected to stand on their own.

Boyce said she became an art teacher as a result of the mentorship of Palmer and found him to be inspiring. When the opportunity arose for her to work with her own art students outside of the classroom on a mural, calling on Palmer was the obvious choice.

"It is a wonderful experience to collaborate with a professor post-graduation.  It allows me to learn from them in a new light with experience under my belt," said Boyce.  

The Crooked Oak mural was completed over a three-day period and was true to its message of growth, that turned out to include, teacher to colleague.

For more information on Central's art department and programs, visit