Volunteer, 84, transforms Diamond Bar school with beautiful murals

ByABC7.com staff via KABC logo
Friday, February 3, 2017
A mural painted by volunteer artist Cornelis Greive is seen at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar.
A mural painted by volunteer artist Cornelis Greive is seen at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar.
Walnut Valley Unified School District

DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (KABC) -- An 84-year-old grandfather is transforming the hallways of a Diamond Bar school by painting elaborate murals on campus.

Cornelis Greive has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours at Chaparral Middle School with sable brushes and acrylic paint in hand, school principal Ron Thibodeaux said in a press release from the Walnut Valley Unified School District.

"Cor has added a lot of color and really brightened up our campus. He's a gem," Thibodeaux said in the release.

His works include portraits of Leonardo da Vinci, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Abraham Lincoln, Jane Austen, Albert Einstein and Amelia Earhart. Greive has also painted national and state award logos as well as a majestic mural of a cougar, the school's mascot.

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Cornelis Greive stands next to a mural he painted at Chaparral Middle School in Diamond Bar. (Walnut Valley Unified School District)
Walnut Valley Unified School District

Greive's artwork typically graces indoor hallway walls, but his handiwork can also be seen on school signage and outdoor walls.

He usually finishes a piece in just one session, which lasts about two hours. He said it excites him to see his work "come to life."

Teachers said their students are in awe of Greive's work, watching every brush stroke.

Greive said the goal of his artwork is to help make students, staff and parents proud of the campus.

To date, his favorite paintings at Chaparral are of Abraham Lincoln and Harry Truman.

"They have a lot in common. Both were denied higher education, but they stayed grounded. They never had any money but were always giving to others," he said.

During the previous two years, Greive painted several murals at Maple Hill Elementary School when his grandchildren, Grace and Louis Ramirez, attended the school. Grace now attends Chaparral.

Greive has pledged to continue painting at Chaparral for two more years. He then plans to "graduate" to Diamond Bar High School.