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Art students bring beach to K.G.
University of Mary Washington students paint mural for cancer survivor.

 University of Mary Washington studio art seniors paint a seaside landscape on a trailer at a King George home.
PHOTOS BY ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 10/4/2011

BY CHELYEN DAVIS

Not everyone can say he or she has a tropical beach view and a tiki bar by the pool. Especially not if that pool is in a backyard in King George.

But artist and cancer survivor Sonja Jeanguenat-Gallahan can, thanks to the efforts of some University of Mary Washington art students.

The students came together Saturday to paint a beach mural on the side of a storage trailer in Gallahan's yard.

The trailer sits beside Gallahan's aboveground pool. If you were floating in it, you'd be eye-level with the trailer--and now, with a mural of a sandy beach, blue waves and green palm trees.

The large, formerly white trailer was given to Gallahan for storage.

But it was ugly, she thought. Neighbors could see it. What it needed was a disguise. A mural.

Gallahan is an artist, and when she decided to do something about the ugly trailer, she approached some artist friends in King George to paint it. But one died, and then another, John Wayne Edwards, got cancer himself.

So Gallahan called UMW's art department.

What she got was a group of art students, led by senior Lauren Horton.

Horton, a 2007 King George High graduate, didn't know Gallahan, but her parents did. And she knew Gallahan wanted a beach scene painted on the trailer.

So Horton put up fliers about an art service project for a five-time cancer survivor, and hoped some students would show up. And they did.

"I'm just thrilled to be able to do this especially after she's been through so much," Horton said.

The students eventually mapped out a design that includes a beach scene on the side of the trailer facing the pool, with paintings of tropical drinks on the end and beach-related items on the other side. The side of the trailer facing a deck was painted to resemble a tiki bar; the inside of the trailer will be walled with bamboo to continue the theme.

Horton said she tried to design the paintings so there would be something for every type of talent in the student group.

More important, she said, is to inspire other art students at UMW to take their art into the community through service projects.


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