Pictured from left are Prairie Heights art students Raegan Cornell, Robbert Conley, Katie Papai, Alyssa Smith and Destiny Hart. Each helped paint a mural at Northern Lakes in Angola. Not pictured is their fellow art student Rachel Williams who also helped on the mural.

ANGOLA — A new mural has come to be at Northern Lakes Nursing and Rehabilitation Center thanks to some Prairie Heights art students and their teacher, Juli Dorton.

The mural was the idea of Northern Lakes Director Dee Smallman and it incorporates community scenes from days past. Smallman submitted photos and Dorton composed them into a plan for the painted mural.

A Steuben County Community Foundation FIST grant was awarded to purchase paints and supplies.

Students Raegan Cornell, Robbert Conley, Katie Papai, Alyssa Smith, Destiny Hart and Rachel Williams added their creative skills and ideas to complete the artwork. Students visited the facility on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings for four weeks.

The mural is located in the hallway of the Alzheimer and dementia wing of the facility. The hope is that the mural will stimulate memories and conversations about patient’s lives.

As students were working, Dorton said, a resident passed and said, “I used to have a car like that.”

Another resident asked a student what his name was, he replied and she said that he reminded her of someone else and could she give him a hug. “Of course,” said the student.

The Prairie Heights students benefited from this experience, said Dorton, by realizing what the residents and staff are dealing with on a daily basis. They learned to appreciate the personalities of the residents as they interacted while painting.

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