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One house in the new Arts District of Ada @ East Main Street will be selected each fall to be repainted at no cost to homeowners through a grant East Central University's Art Department has received from Campus Compact, a national coalition dedicated to campus-based civic engagement.

The Art Department will use most of the $500 grant to purchase an industrial-grade airless paint sprayer. Students in ECU's painting classes will complete the exterior painting as a service-learning project. More than 20 students should start painting the first house shortly after Labor Day on Sept. 1, said Dr. Brad Jessop, chair of the Art Department.

"Since this is one of the department's service-learning classes," Jessop said, "it should be ongoing for several years, although I think we can only paint one house per academic year."

The students and the arts district's steering committee will select the homes to be painted. The houses must be inside the Arts District, an area bordered by Mississippi on the west, Francis on the east, 9th Street on the north and 14th Street on the south.

Those who live in the Arts District and are interested in this program should call 580-559-5353 and leave their name and contact information on the voicemail.

The houses will be power-washed, scraped and primed. Paint will be applied by sprayer, brush and roller, Jessop said. Each project should take several weeks.

"Homes in the area will be repainted in one of several color schemes that coordinate with the overall design guidelines outlined for the district and will reflect the historic nature of the homes in the area," Jessop said. "Students will learn craftsmanship and basic painting skills as well as the historical relationship between painting as a trade and painting as a fine art."

"Additionally," he said, "the students will learn about the rewards of public service and personal action to improve their local community."

The criteria for selecting the homes include the homeowner's income and age, whether the home is owned by an absentee landowner, and the general condition of the building. Preference will be given to elderly, low-income homeowners, Jessop said.

ECU students now are required to take two courses with a designated service-learning component. Service-learning projects must meet a need of the community, be tied to a college course curriculum and require the student to reflect on the service in relation to the course.

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