Megan Novak paints the ceiling of the Lien gazebo.

As a young child, Megan Novak remembers creating messy masterpieces at the dining room table. It brought her joy. The 2021 Amery High School graduate is now using her painting skills to bring joy to other children.

Novak has recently completed a mural under the gazebo on the Lien Elementary playground. She said, “Painting this mural was a way to spread positivity while doing something I love.”

Lien Elementary’s Lisa Bensen said, “This project came about as our PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) Tier 1 Team was planning a location on the playground for students to experience some moments of mindfulness and calm as well as a place to use their Problem-Solving Steps (say the problem, think of solutions, explore consequences, and pick the best solution).”

Novak was just the girl for the job.

“I attended Lien Elementary for just a short time in Preschool, and I don't remember much, but I do remember when my mom would take me and my siblings to the school playground on weekends and we'd think it was coolest thing ever,” Novak said.

She said paint is a favorite medium of hers because she feels the most expressive using it. “I like that I can pour all my focus on a painting, and it's like a little break from reality,” said Novak.

Bensen said, “The mural inside the gazebo has added a pleasant visual that lends itself to appreciating and enjoying nature. It is well known that spending time in nature offers many health benefits such as re-regulating the nervous system, and regulated brains learn better. We are grateful to Megan for sharing her time, talent, and creativity with us!”

In addition to the mural, the gazebo will be surrounded with plants, sitting areas and a peace path/garden. 

Novak said she love all kinds of art. She said, “I practice everything from drawing to photography to floral design. And I love all genres of music-- there's always a song stuck in my head.”

In a couple weeks Novak will be starting her first year at the College of Saint Benedict, majoring in Visual Arts and minoring in art education, communications or peace studies.

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