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North Chicago High students put final touch on car crash

Art students North Chicago High School recently painted realistic background aroundÊCollisiSolutions. At Left Standing VanessSandoval her hunches JessicGallegos right next

Art students at North Chicago High School recently painted a realistic background aroundÊat Collision Solutions. At Left Standing, Vanessa Sandoval, on her hunches, Jessica Gallegos, to the right next to the wall Michael Wesley, Below the car in a red tee, Darixza Rodriguez, in the white sweater, Karina Villasenor. | Special to Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 27, 2013 3:02AM

A group of North Chicago High School art students were involved in a car crash on Sheridan Road last week but no injuries were reported.

The students weren’t actually in an accident. They painted a mural depicting a car crash on the north and south sides of the North Chicago firm Collision Solution, 1026 Sheridan Road. The auto body repair business was nearly destroyed in March 2012 by a fire that started at a towing company next door. After a year-long renovation, it re-opened last month.

“We had the option to leave North Chicago, but we have a lot of networks in the community so we decided to stay,” said Collision Solution manager Hal Davis, who also operates a business in Hainesville.

Davis said he and employees brainstormed ideas on how to make the new building stand out. They took a cue from the business in Hainseville, where an entire side of a car is attached to the exterior. They cut a 1998 Oldsmobile Aurora in half and mounted the pieces high on the north and south sides of the building on the west side of Sheridan Road, just south of Tenth Street. But the unusual “collision” needed something more.

That’s when Davis turned to North Chicago High and the talented students of veteran art instructor Grace Wangombe.

“He asked us to paint a mural that shows the bricks on the building breaking up — so it looks like the car has really crashed through the wall,” said Wangombe, who visited the business with a team of 10 young painters on May 14. “It’s definitely one of the most unusual projects we’ve ever done.”

“It was fun,” said NCHS art student Darixza Rodriguez, 17. “It really looks like a crash.”

Rodriguez, a sophomore, and the other five girls on her team climbed ladders to get to their half of the Aurora. “We were terrified at first,” she said. “But we got used to it.”

Wangombe and the students, who took on the work for the experience, were “thrilled,” Wangombe said, when Collision insisted on making a donation for their effort. Wangombe immediately knew what to ask for — easels, which can cost between $80 and $300 a piece.

“They bought us 10 new easels, which is wonderful,” Wangombe said. “We just can’t afford to spend money on furniture after we buy paints and supplies.”

Meanwhile, the commercial pop art by Collision Solution is getting the attention of passersby.

“We try to tie things into the community,” Davis said.

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