Donna Rubin Design

Greta’s Run Special Needs Art Program.

Not only did I participate in the inaugural Greta’s Run as a runner and donor, I was honored to lead the art program that was funded by Greta’s Run proceeds!

Greta’s Run is a 5K run/walk event held in memory of Greta Schoenemann, a Westfield High School student who died from injuries sustained on 9/11/02.  Greta’s Run was created as a tribute to the Schoenemann family and as a fundraiser for programs for people with special needs.  This event would have been close to Greta’s heart because her sister Elise has Cerebral Palsy.

All proceeds from Greta’s Run are used to develop and implement programming for young adults with special needs. Young adults aged 18-26 group, including Greta’s sister Elise, age out of most organizational school-based programming. The mission of Greta’s Run is to fix this in Westfield at the Westfield Area Y. A series of sample programs took place in the spring, and I led the Art Program at the Ducret School of Art in Plainfield, NJ

The series of sample programs set up with proceeds from the run.

The series of sample programs set up with proceeds from the run.

I decided to help the young men and women create a composite mural. Working with Ben Nanna, who founded the Greta’s Run and programs with his friend Jayne Ruotolo, we decided that the mural would be a picture of the Westfield Y building. We took a variety of  photos of the building and decided on one. So how did we make this mural with so many students of different abilities? Here’s a step-by-step depiction…..

Step 1: Prime sheets of bristol vellum.

Step 1: Prime sheets of bristol vellum.


Step 2: Tape them together (on the back).


Step 3: Set up the taped-together sheets and draw the image.


Step 4: After the image is drawn, un-tape everything.


Step 5: We set up the studio so that every artist gets to see the complete image (a picture of the Westfield Y), and a picture of the small section that they are painting.


Step 6: The participants arrived, I mixed up the paint colors, and the fun began!



ducret event

A composite poster that captures images from the event. I am in the lower right corner!

The participants had a lot of fun. Some worked alone, some needed help from aides. As you can see from the finished project, all of the participant’s different abilities, techniques, and interpretations came together in a creative depiction of the Westfield Y building!

The finished project!

The finished project!


Storefront window design for run event.

Storefront window design I painted for the 2014 Greta’s Run.

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Decorative Painting, Murals & Wall Finishes in NJ