Step by Step

Nov 26, 2017

Words and Photos by Jana Life

Kelsey is a senior fashion merchandising major with a double minor in marketing and sustainability. Kelsey is very involved on campus with various clubs and causes but tries to spend her free time traveling. She has visited 40 out of all 50 states and three of the seven continents.

Students help finish painting the last panels of the mural a few hours before it was assembled on Memorial Field, October 13th, 2017.

It started out simple: a bucket list item, number 182 out of 315 — “Complete a world record.” In Fall 2016, Kelsey Merritt began to dream about what it would be like to have a record in the Guinness Book of World Records.
She researched existing records, dreamed up her own and eventually settled on the idea of making the largest mural painted by bare feet. She said she felt like God was knocking at her door, telling her she needed to do something.

“I am sick and tired of negative news,” she says. “I know that I am inspired by powerful stories, things that are diverse and fun … so I thought ‘I’m going to get a bunch of people involved and I’m going to do this.’”

It wasn’t a short or easy goal by any means — the confirmation process with Guinness alone took a few months, but Merritt would say it was all worth it.

“My biggest stress creator is my biggest stress reliever at the end of the day,” she says.

To promote the desire for global unity and positivity, Merritt designed her mural with the six colors of the Olympic rings, which represent the flags of every country in the world. Each of the 124 panels was 10 yards by 2.5 yards and the final dimension of the mural was 26,787 square feet. It was finished on Kent’s Homecoming weekend, Friday, October 13th, 2017.

All materials used for the mural were donated to Kelsey. She received $2,700 from Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Todd Diacon, $1,000 from the Fashion School and the rest was donated by Jo-Anne Fabrics. The total cost of all materials was $5,500 but Merritt didn’t pay a single dollar out of pocket.

In total, 140 bolts of fabrics and 310 jugs of six different colors of paint were used to finish the mural.

Through the excruciating pain of stomping on hard ground days at a time, carrying bolt after bolt of fabric to and from her apartment and one stained bathtub, Merritt did it.

Step by step.

Jana Life is a photo editor, contact her a jlife@kent.edu.

Look for the Fall 2017 issue of The Burr Magazine, on stands Tuesday, Nov. 28.