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Mize Mural Project
photo of elementary mural - interior

Mize Elementary students and staff had a unique opportunity to collaborate with local artist, Ken Dela, to create a one-of-a-kind mural at their school. The finished artwork is reflective of their school’s culture and involved the Mize community from start to finish.

In 2021, Shelly Souders, the art teacher at Mize, had an idea for a mural project which she presented to school principal, Gerri Balthazor. After getting a hearty approval, the thoughtful process of this project began. The first step was finding a local artist who would collaborate with students and staff on what the final design should include and allow students to paint the mural. All of this was found in local artist, Ken Dela.

Ken Dela has created a number attention-capturing murals around the Kansas City area. He has also been a selected artist for the KC Hearts Tour and does work for the annual Big Slick softball tournament. Ken’s style has a colorful, loose, street-art quality which connects well with elementary students. He was excited to collaborate with Mize and loved the idea of students helping create the finished project.

In December 2023, each classroom at Mize Elementary brainstormed with Mrs. Souders on what should be included on the mural.  After sorting through the extensive list of ideas, Mize-inspired themes began to emerge which included diverse student population, gardens, the historic one-room schoolhouse, fish, and Huddy Hawk, along with more common school images such as music notes, PE equipment, books, green spaces, art, and school supplies.

Ken Dela provided a sketch including these ideas in early March then quickly got to work preparing the wall area at Mize which would serve as the canvas for the collaborative art piece. After numerous days including hours of sanding, sketching and outlining his design, Ken then worked with small groups of fifth grade students to help paint the mural in vibrant colors. The final design includes airbrush details and raised dots for visually impaired students to read using Braille.

The Mize mural was funded cooperatively by the Mize PTO and through money fundraised from Artsonia and Artome student art projects. The mural will be available for families to see in-person for the first time at the Mize Fine Arts Night on April 25.

Sketching mural on wall

Mize Mural project sketch. 

Mural prep on wall.

Mize Mural Project outline.


Mural painting planning

Mize Mural planning with art teacher, Shelly Souders.

Students helping paint wall mural

Ken Dela painting with students on Mize Mural Project.

Mural painting with student.

Ken Dela painting with student on Mize Mural Project

Artist placing braille dots on mural

Ken Dela placing Braille dots on Mize Mural