Weeks ago, the walls in the training wing hallway of the Oswego Police Department’s station on Woolley Road were just plain white.
But since the $32 million building was opened last fall, Police Chief Jeff Burgner knew exactly how he wanted to adorn those barren walls – with messages of peace, unity and perseverance through pictures of strength, community and love.
“We decided that this was the place we were going to showcase some of the work [Oswego School] District 308 can do,” Burgner said. “This space was very intentional and we designed the building around opportunities like this.”
The department worked with art directors from both Oswego and Oswego East High Schools to put together two teams of art students who would not only conjure up ideas, but design, draw and paint them on canvases that would adorn the police department halls. The students, along with members of the police department, village board, family members, friends and media turned out for the unveiling of the murals Nov. 20.
Burgner said his police staff worked closely with the students to give them ideas about what the department stands for and what serving the community means, but after that it was on the teens to meld the officers’ ideas and their own ideas together.
“Looking at these murals, the students have captured the essence [of what we discussed] and interpreted it in ways that they were able to put it on canvas. I guarantee you, it probably looks nothing like what the officers and staff they worked with thought it would look like,” Burgner said.
An officer’s mind is trained to look through one lens. A student has the freedom and creativity to look through another.
“It’s very neat to see them put together,” Burgner said. “I thank each and every student who worked on this project. I think it’s awesome you chose to work with our department. It means the world to us.”
For Village President Troy Parlier, the mural project is consistent with the theme and message that is presented by Oswego.
“I’ve talked consistently about the fabric of Oswego,” he said. “There’s something about the goodness that exists. ... the goodness in our fabric. Today, I can say that this is the fabric of Oswego. We have these canvases here. ... It’s a great way to express that the community can work together and we can pull on the rope at the same time,” Parlier said.