Saturday, August 11, 2001

Chalk one up

Young artist draws mural of America's past

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Dede Pan, 11, was dealing with a bad case of the summer doldrums when she decided to perk up her morale with a mural.

        Over a two-day span, using a bucket of colored chalk under a boiling 90-degree sun, Dede drew a 60- to 70-yard-long mural of the history of America last week.

[photo] Dede Pan (left) drew a driveway-long mural of America's past after a suggestion from sister Michelle.
(Michael Snyder photo)
| ZOOM |
        “My parents encourage us to do mind-stimulating activities and this was a big space. I thought the history of America might fill it up,” said Dede, soon to be a sixth-grader in the gifted program at Woodland Elementary School in the Lakota School District. She is the daughter of Huai and Terri Pan. Dede's work appears on the circular driveway fronting her home on Tammarron Place in the Wetherington development.

        Her inspiration came from sister Michelle, 19.

        “I saw that she was kind of bored with going to the pool and other summer activities, so I thought why not ask her to do a chalk drawing — something big like a collage or a mural. Dede likes to be creative and she's always drawing,” said Michelle, who is home on summer break from the University of Miami, Fla..

        Dede said her twin sister, Lauren, and 9-year-old sister Kristen offered encouragement, refreshments and an occasional suggestion. Dede said her favorite subject is social studies, “and a way to learn history facts is to make a project out of them.”

        Karen Qualls, gifted and enrichment teacher at Woodland Elementary, said Dede has a flair for doing outstanding research, taking what she has learned and presenting it in creative ways.

        “She is very driven and very analytical,” Ms. Qualls said

        Dede's work begins with the crossing by prehistoric man over a land bridge connecting Asia to present day Alaska. She has drawn Ice Age glaciers and early Native American settlements as the continent became populated.

        The mural includes the arrival of Christopher Columbus, Pilgrims on the Mayflower and Native American skirmishes with early settlers. The Boston Tea Party and the Revolutionary War lead into the Indian Wars. Slavery precedes the Civil War, and Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address.

        The mural depicts World Wars I and II, followed by the poodle skirts of the “Rockin' '50s,” Vietnam and the ""Groovy 60s.” Neil Armstrong also walks on the moon.

        The “Awesome '80s” dawn, the Challenger explodes and the “Cool '90s” open with computers and America Online.

        Dede signed her work and titled it: “Millennium 2000, A Country in the Making.”

        As Dede's mother, Terri, noted: “It took 28 snapshots to get it all (on film). If you want to know anything about American history, just come over and look at our driveway.”

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