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Art student creates mural for library
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The mural includes a short poem by Richard Armour. - photo by Photo by Katie McGurl

There’s a bright new addition to the children’s section of Richmond Hill Public Library.

Thanks to the artistic efforts of Richmond Hill High School graduate and current Savannah College of Art & Design student Mollie Starnes, the library now boasts a colorful mural depicting a jungle scene.

Starnes volunteered for roughly 28 hours over the course of four days to complete the painting on August 27. Her work spans a corner in the children’s section and includes a giraffe, toucan, lemur, butterflies and more. In addition to the jungle scene, the SCAD freshman painted a library-themed quote onto another panel.

Library Manager Kate Barker said she is “thrilled” with Starnes’ work.

“I think it’s beautiful,” Barker said. “It’s really been a great way to brighten it up for the kids and make it more of a children’s area rather than just another section at the library.”

Starnes, an avid reader, began volunteering at the library in December. She and her brother, Mason, and mother, Wendy, helped to paint the interior walls.

“Kate (Barker) and I just got to talking one weekend and she mentioned that she was interested in doing a mural,” said Starnes. “Me and my mom were there, and my mom said, ‘Mollie could paint it,’ and I said ‘yeah, I could do it!’ I showed Kate a picture of something I’d done for my friend and it just kind of happened.”

“I think it was just a case of serendipity,” said Barker.

Starnes, Barker and library staff researched subjects and quotes for the mural.

“Everyone really liked the idea of animals, so I just chose fun, colorful, exotic ones so that it would be fun to look at,” Starnes explained.

The Richard Armour quote was chosen by Barker for its relevance to a library setting.
When Starnes had finished painting the quotation, Kindergartener and frequent library patron Brooke Seagraves suggested including a flower as a finishing touch.

Starnes is currently studying film and television at SCAD with the hope of someday working as an art director. She was inspired by a trip to Hollywood with a cousin who works for a Warner Bros. affiliate. 

The young artist said she has always loved to draw, but has only taken up painting recently.

Creating the mural was “a good experience,” according to Starnes.

“I just moved to Richmond Hill a year ago because I’m a military brat, so it’s funny that I’ve left a mark after being here only a year,” she said. “It’s cool that I’ve left a piece of myself. I’m glad I did it.”

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