‘Community in Action’

KHS grads add colorful mural message to DICSA wall

AFTER SEVERAL WEEKS of hard work and gallons of paint, a new mural by two Kingsford High School graduates now brightens up the facade of the Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency. Cassandra McMahon, left, and Elizabeth Early show the completed mural on the north side of the DICSA building at 1238 Carpenter Ave. in Iron Mountain. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

IRON MOUNTAIN — The Dickinson-Iron Community Services Agency now has a splash of color and inspirational words to lift the spirits of all who pass by, thanks to the hard work of two Kingsford High School graduates.

Cassandra McMahon and Elizabeth Early volunteered their time this summer to paint a vibrant mural on the north side of the building at 1238 Carpenter Ave. in Iron Mountain.

“It not only brightens up our building but symbolizes ‘Community in Action’ by incorporating the DICSA logo among the variety of colored circles,” DICSA Executive Director Kristin Sommerfeld said.

The artwork was created by McMahon, whose mother, Christine McMahon, is DICSA nutrition program director. “My mom first had the idea of painting something on the back wall of the building for the community to enjoy,” said McMahon, noting she then still was in high school. “But we later realized no one would be able to see it.”

After graduation, McMahon approached Sommerfeld with the possibility of doing a mural on the brick wall that can be seen from Carpenter Avenue.

ELIZABETH EARLY, left, and Cassandra McMahon work on the finishing touches of the “We Care” of the mural on the north side of the DICSA building in Iron Mountain. (Terri Castelaz/Daily News photo)

Sommerfeld loved the idea, so McMahon got to work on several designs.

Her concept focused on embracing DICSA mission and what it stands for. “Using ‘We Care’ within the logo I felt was important,” she said.

McMahon also wanted to make it fun — adding shapes and vivid colors. “I chose these colors to give it a ‘retro-like feel,'” she said. “They really pop.”

She noted that some of her original mock-ups featured a lot more wording in the background. “We decided they would have been nearly impossible to do working on a hill,” she said.

They did try to add “Community Action” above the U.P. symbol in the new mural, Early said, but it didn’t work out with the slant to the hill.

The two artists put more than 60-plus hours into just the mural. They did the artwork by freehand piece by piece, which took a full week alone and then returned to finish the painting.

“The circles were probably the hardest part,” Early said.

McMahon and Early finished last week, including continuing the colors on the bannister.

“I think they did a beautiful job,” Sommerfeld said. “I am very happy with how Cassie’s mural turned out.”

McMahon, who had two years of art in high school, will be going to University of Michigan. She also had more than 300 volunteer hours with DICSA throughout her school career.

Early is headed to Milwaukee School of Engineering this fall and enjoys doing art in her free time.


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