Mural funded by Junior Service League grant.

Shawnee Library recently unveiled the clay-tile mural, “Read,” designed by Julie Blackstone and created by participants in the 2013 Summer Reading Program for teens. The piece was funded by a grant given by Shawnee’s Jr. Service League.

Among those attending the event were State Sen. Ron Sharp, State Rep. Justin Wood, teens who participated in the project and members of the Jr. Service League.

Shawnee Library’s Branch Manager Karen Bays commented “Public art is such an important part of the culture and quality of life for a community. We are fortunate to have participative art, art created not just for the community, but art created by the community—by a group of our local teens. This is something to be treasured for many years to come.

“I’d like to thank the Junior Service League for generously funding this project. I also want to thank our Teen Librarian, Mary Sims, for having the vision to see the importance and value of public art and the persistence to make it all come together. “

Sharp added “Thank you Shawnee Jr. Service League and thank you Mary Sims for organizing this. The kids did a great job of putting this together. It’s great to see this group of young people finish such a difficult task and be able to view it for years to come.”

Wood said "I am very appreciative of creation. When historians look back on the artwork in this building they will see the emphasis our community put on the importance of reading. I am grateful for your efforts to better the lives of the young people in Shawnee. I'm excited to bring my children to our library to see your work!"

Sims stated “Support from the community is so important for projects of this size to happen. The kids participating in the creation of the mural displayed permanently in the lobby will have a sense of ownership of their library through this contribution.”