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Local painter Kevin Kluever’s sketches for his mural painting class at the Orono Discovery Center in Maple Plain. Kluever’s work can be found throughout Maple Plain and the West Hennepin area. (Submitted photo)

“I think everyone is an artist,” local self-taught painter Kevin Kluever said in regards to his new mural painting class.

This summer, the outdoor classroom at the Discovery Center in Maple Plain is getting new art painted by students in Kluever’s mural painting class, who will learn the steps involved when painting a large mural.

The week-long class began the week of June 15 and will run through the beginning of August. Each week, a new group of children and Kluever will paint an outdoor mural on the four walls of the old warming house for three hours a day, four days a week. Contact Orono Community Education at 952-449-8350 or CEInfo@orono.k12.mn.us for information.

The warming house now serves as the gateway to the new outdoor classroom for preschoolers at the Discovery Center. The mural will be complete by the end of the summer, which means the majority of the class will be spent outdoors, allowing for social distancing between children who are painting.

“I wanted to offer a mural painting class as a summer school class, which is something I’ve never done before. I’ve usually taught drawing and painting classes indoors, but I thought, people want to be outside,” he said.

When Kluever presented his idea, the outdoor classroom and the blank walls of the old warming house were mentioned. Kluever wanted to bring in his love of landscapes to the finished product.

Kluever typically focuses on landscapes and has been working on his craft for about 20 years. When he was a junior high school teacher, Kluever taught himself how to paint during the summer months.

“When I had summers off as a teacher, I would go out and teach myself how to paint, try to copy painters that I liked and incorporate that into my sketches. I would say about 10 years ago I started working on murals,” he said.

He then had opportunities to work on murals with students and branched out into west Hennepin communities. His work can be found from Maple Plain to Excelsior, whether that be outside, in homes or schools.

“I live in Minnetrista and I grew up on a farm so I love anything a little more rural and I love the open sky. I paint just about every day when I can,” Kluever said.

The sketches for the mural showcase a little of what Kluever loves and Minnesota. The northern wall, which faces the outdoor classroom, is focused around northern Minnesota. It features a classic Minnesota lake scene filled with tall trees, bears, a loon, a moose and other wildlife.

“I wanted to reflect Minnesota, its landscapes and its wildlife,” he said.

The southern wall features life near the west Hennepin region. The wall features open grass with trees and common wildlife such as deer and squirrels.

“I teach adults and kids...I get a lot of adults saying ‘I’m not an artist’ and get frustrated. With kids, I don’t see that at all. There’s no fear puting paint on a canvas and they love everything they do. What I love about it is, no one is critical of their work and they just love doing it,” Kluever said.

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