A pair of studio majors at Bates College were looking for a project to help the Lewiston-Auburn community.

So when Doug Hubley of Bates’ communications and media relations office, heard about a request from the Lewiston-Auburn 911 communication center, he knew it would be a perfect fit. 

Robinson Copland of the 911 center was looking for something to spruce up the drab hallway at the entrance in the basement of the Minot Avenue fire station in Auburn.

The perfect fit came when Kimberly “Tobi” Liaw of Ontario, Calif., and Jee Hye Kim of Fort Lee, N.J., best friends and roommates at Bates, agreed to take on the project.

Even though they come from opposite ends of the country, they share a love of all things art. They are both self-taught artists and although they have different styles, “we complement each other,” Kim said as they put the finishing touches on the mural last Friday afternoon.

“We hope that other people in the area, not just students at Bates, hear about this and get involved in community projects,” she said.

Copland, the human resources and office manager at the L-A 911 call center, works with the professionals at the center who walk down the hall several times during their shifts.

 “I wanted them to know they are appreciated and feel good about what they do,” Copland said. “They don’t have the public visibility, but are an important part of the overall public safety network.”

“When we first met (Liaw and Kim), there were a bunch of ideas thrown around about what approach to take,” he said. “They were going to make one big scene, but with the multiple monitors and scenes inside the center, it made sense that the mural depict a number of different scenarios the dispatchers deal with.”

With photos and sketches, the work began. After 30 hours, including a marathon session last Friday to get the mural done, it was finally finished.

It is not the actual mural, made from acrylic paint and markers, that makes the artists feel proud. It is what it will do for those who work at the center.

“I hope that the workers look at the mural and feel more appreciated for what they do,” Kim said. 

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