Local teens’ work brings “Horse in the City” to the library

Shawnee HorseThe Shawnee Public Library’s tradition of summer art projects for teens has continued this year as the library is part of the City of Shawnee’s public art presentation “Horse in the City.”

A crowd estimated at about 150 gathered for the unveiling of the library’s horse on Monday, Aug. 21, a group that included many of the approximately 40 teens who worked on the project.

The project was made possible thanks to the funding and support of the Cleo L. Craig Foundation, a Shawnee-based foundation that works with projects focusing on human services and education. Also, the Junior Service League of Shawnee was a great help in the unveiling event and is a longtime supporter of the library’s efforts.

“By far this is the largest project we have undertaken with the teens,” said Mary Sims, Teen Librarian. “We are really excited about it, and thankful that the Craig family was able to make this dream a reality with their support.”

Julie Blackstone, assistant art professor at Oklahoma Baptist University, created the design and worked with the teens in helping them to complete the work, which took place as a Summer Reading Program activity on July 29.

The library has hosted similar art-related activities for teens since 2010, with those projects adorning walls throughout the library, in the Community meeting rooms and Children’s Department, as well as multiple permanent murals in the library lobby.

The physical horse itself is a life-size model that weighs about 100 pounds. It was delivered to the library from where it was manufactured in Minnesota in early June and will be installed to its permanent location outside the library in September.