People give back to their communities in a number of ways—but for Kendall resident Christina Marling, painting a mural in her church’s nursery is her way.
Marling, 19, said she grew up in the Old Cutler Presbyterian Church, 14401 Old Cutler Rd., and decided to put her skills to good use.
“I volunteer with VBS (Vocational Bible School) and this year I was working with kids in the nursery. I looked at the room and I said, ‘I could paint this.’”
Marling, who will be attending Ringling College of Art and Design this fall, said art has encompassed most of her life.
“It’s not something that really goes away—I love it and it’s what I want to do with my life.”
Marling’s mother Maria said Christina has had a knack for art since she was a toddler.
“Wherever we would go she would doodle on a page or anything really. It could have been some scrap paper or some important bill—she would doodle.”
The nursery will feature elements of biblical significance coupled with themes and motifs relatable to children.
“There will be cherubs, shepherds and Jesus, storks and other biblical aspects,” said Jan Moggio, director of children’s ministries. “Everything except the stork is biblical, obviously, but we want the kids to feel comfortable.”
Parents get an added sense of comfort knowing that their children will be able to enjoy a newly redecorated nursery, which is primarily used Sundays and Wednesdays.
“Any kind of artwork is good for the kids,” said Sarah Rivera, whose 2-year-old frequents the nursery. “It was basically a blank wall with some posters but this will be more pleasing for them.”
Moggio noted that this project, in particular, has a special significance because it involves someone who has been intricately involved with the church for years.
“For me, it comes full circle,” said Moggio. “I’ve known Christina since she was an infant in the nursery and now she’s blessing us with her talents by painting it.”
Marling said art is something most people don’t take seriously but is something that she values deeply.
“It allows me to be myself and do something I love for a profession. People say artists go hungry, but I don’t think so. Ringling is a great school and art is involved in everything you see around you.”
Marling, who completed her first year at Miami Dade College, took a leap of faith and applied to Ringling College, where she will now be majoring in illustration with the hopes of breaching into animation.
Marling’s mother said Ringling is the Harvard of computer animation in both esteem and tuition—a cause for joy and concern.
“With the interest rate going up, I don’t know how she will afford these student loans. It’s a great school, but we’re worried.”
Maria Marling was referring to interest on federal student loans that doubled last week from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent because of congressional inaction.
“It’s terrifying,” said Christina Marling. “I’m probably going to take out about the same as a home mortgage. It’s scary because I’m so happy I got in and it’s very hard to get in.”
Marling calmed, however, and said for now she will focus on the mural.
“I hope they [Congress] can do something, but right now, I’m just going to paint.”