WINONA LAKE — Grace College students Kaylee Kercher, resident of Goshen, and Michelle Sweers, resident of Union, Mich., spent the summer of 2016 creating art at AkzoNobel Powder Coatings in Warsaw. After two months of sketching and outlining, and over 100 hours of painting, the duo produced a landscape masterpiece on a conference room wall.
“Employees got to watch the project unfold,” said Deanna Cripe, Powder Coating’s Warsaw buyer. “Day by day, a beautiful sea of tulips with a snowcapped mountain range and even a windmill, emerged. We are pleased with the result! Michelle and Kaylee were also very professional; their work impressed our team.”
AkzoNobel Powder Coatings is a world-wide provider of solvent-free spray paint for every surface. Since arriving in 2015, Mojmir Mocek, Warsaw’s Powder Coatings plant manager, has pursued a variety of business improvements. The mural project was Mocek’s inspiration for beautifying the building. Through a partnership with Kim M. Reiff, professor and chair of the Visual, Performing and Media Arts Department at Grace College, Kercher and Sweers were chosen for the job.
“We completely enjoyed creating the mural for Powder Coatings,” said Sweers. “It was so cool to have people walk by and appreciate our work. It was also a great real-world experience and application of our skills.”
Kercher, an illustration major, and Sweers, an art major, earned applied learning credit by interning at Powder Coatings. Grace College’s applied learning and internship programs prepare students to enter the workforce after graduation. They supply substantial resume material and experience in the student’s field of interest.
Applied learning is required for each academic program at Grace; undergraduate students must earn ten percent of their bachelor’s degree by attaining 12 credit hours of applied learning. Positions include part-time summer jobs, research projects, cross-cultural field experiences and community service projects. Applied learning can lead to internships and eventual employment.