Artist Abigail Cunningham, second from left, chats Tuesday with Maia Tebbets during the unveiling of a mural in the Lisbon Falls Community Library children’s garden. The two Lisbon High School National Honor Society students, along with students, from left, Aylin Noble-Ramirez, Emmanuella Norelus and Alexia Barnes, raised money for and painted the mural. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LISBON — A group of National Honor Society students is celebrating a major milestone in a monthslong effort to brighten up the Lisbon Falls Community Library children’s garden.

What was once an empty brick wall now features a large colorful mural designed by Lisbon High School graduate Abigail Cunningham. And there’s still more to come.

The high school students not only pitched the idea of a mural, they also raised the money and painted it.

Last spring, a group of National Honor Society members spent the day cleaning up the children’s garden in the back. They came up with the idea of creating a mural for the garden.

“We really wanted to figure out a way to brighten up the community,” Maia Tebbetts, a senior, said. “We thought since a lot of us are artistic, a fun way to do that would be with murals.”

But at the start, they weren’t sure they would be able to make their idea a reality.


“It started as more of a pipe dream thing,” Cunningham said. Fortunately, she had town connections through her father, Ross Cunningham, Lisbon’s director of economic and community development.

With the support of town officials and the library director, the students met to make a list of local businesses they could ask for donations. That’s when their idea began to feel possible, Cunningham said.

Nine Lisbon businesses ultimately donated to the cause, helping the students raise about $1,000 for supplies.

“It’s an easy decision to support a project like this when we see our local students taking an active step in making our community more attractive,” Lisbon Community Federal Credit Union President and CEO George Roy said in a prepared statement.

For nearly two weeks, the students worked in an auto garage owned by Town Council Chairman Fern Larochelle. They projected Cunningham’s design onto the canvas, tracing the lines before painting the abstract design.

“It’s an exceptional group,” Christina Morse, Lisbon’s National Honor Society adviser, said. “National Honor Society kids are always good academically and stuff like that. But this group is super into service, and they’re motivated.”


Cunningham said she looked at images of large, colorful abstract murals in big cities for inspiration. The design ultimately ended up looking similar to an “I Spy” image with a number of fun doodles, she said.

While the main panel of the mural project is complete, the students say they still have eight smaller panels planned for the garden shed. Four of the panels will be painted by the students and four will incorporate artwork from some of the children who visit the library.

“I think it’s mostly just exciting to see that we had an idea and it fully came out,” Tebbets said. “Now it’s this great part of our community. And it really is inspiring to see that if we want to get something done, we have the power.”

On Tuesday morning, library Director Diane Nadeau said she saw children waiting to come inside the library look up at the mural and smile.

“It opens their imagination,” she said. “It’s just like opening a book for them before they step through the door.”

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