Claudi’s Kids on E. Washington Avenue
Multicultural Reflections
Jim Franks (l-r) and Leticia Ruiz stand before the
backside of a multicultural window mural they painted at
Claudi’s Kids on E. Washington Ave.
By Jonathan Gramling

       Around Halloween last year, Jim Franks tagged along to Claudi’s Kids
Daycare, 3131 E. Washington Ave., where his wife Judith had started working. He
began to work on Halloween costumes for the children at the center and before he
knew it, he was designing a mural for the front windows of the center.
“Ms. Claudi saw several of my art pieces including Children around the World and
wondered if it could be included in a mural to go up on the wall, Franks said. “I
told her that we would see what occurs.”
       Claudi Miller established her day care 13 years ago and has seen a stream of
diverse children come through her doors. “We do have riches in the children
because we do minister to them and help them to learn because we have children
here that are from poverty on up,” Miller said. “We have had children from Israel,
Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Asia. We’ve also had African American
and White children. We do speak Spanish. We have teachers here who are
bilingual. They do English and Spanish. I do a little bit of German. We also do a
little Arabic. It makes the parents feel welcome when they come in here and see
that.”
       Over the past several months, Franks has been working on the mural with
      Leticia Ruiz and the teachers and children of the day care center. Franks outlined the artwork and then Ruiz and the others would outline it
in black and fill in the colors. In essence, Franks had to draw the mural as if he were looking in a mirror for what he was looking at was
opposite of how it would appear from outside the center, which was actually the “front” of the mural.
       “I did pictures of all of the children, not all of whom would go on the wall,” Franks said. “I wanted to see which ones look good on the
wall. I did the teachers as well. It was an ongoing process in terms of how it would look. The theme was the children and the teachers, a
multicultural mix of many cultures, foreign and domestic. I thought it was a great mix of not only children, but also teachers. This is the first
time that I have ever used this medium.”
       The result was a multicultural depiction of the world’s children, a pleasant sight for children and adults alike.