CONWAY — The next time you visit Leavitt’s Country Bakery for a cup of coffee or cinnamon roll, look up before you enter and take in the colorful new mural created by three Kennett High students under the direction of art teacher Olivia Benish.

The students — sophomore Emma Gallant, 16, and senior Ben Rieser, 18, both of Tamworth, and junior Morgan Carr, 17, of Glen — created the mural as a class art project.

Set against the backdrop of bright rays of sunshine, and mounted over the doorway across the building’s facade, the mural depicts tasty Leavitt’s specialties, including a chocolate doughnut with rainbow sprinkles, raspberry shortbread, cinnamon roll, blueberry muffin, sugar cookie and a Boston cream pastry.

The mural is situated to look like the valley's mountains.

Leavitt's celebrated the new addition Tuesday morning with owner Sean Young and staff, Benish and the students, as well as Corey Taylor of the Conway Sign Co., who brought the work of art from Kennett High and installed it Sunday morning.

“The real kudos go to the students. They did a great job,” said Taylor.

Benish said the work was created on finished plywood using high-quality Golden Acrylic brand mural paint, further protected by several coats of UV that will keep the mural looking good for years to come.

“Because of the UV varnish, the sun won’t fade it,” said Benish. “We wanted to use a high-quality brand of paint so it would be really vibrant and be a professional work of art.”

The students estimated they spent five weeks working on the project, totaling 80 hours.

"There were a lot of late afternoons. I wanted to give my top students a project, and they really did a great job," said Benish.

She said the project came about when she and former Mount Washington Radio Group account executive Dorothy Lane were discussing a fun way to get students involved in a community art project.

Likewise, Young — who with his wife Kristin bought Leavitt’s from Ray and Beth Leavitt a year ago — said he and his wife have long been strong supporters of Kennett High.

“We thought it would be a fun project for the kids and good for the community. And, hopefully this will be an annual project as we have other sides to the building," said Young, who also owns Premier Furniture in North Conway.

The students said it was a team effort.

“We didn’t really have one assigned job," said Gallant

"We worked on each pastry together,” said Rieser.

“I’ve never done such a big piece of art before. So it’s pretty exciting,” said Carr, who hopes to study art and architecture when she attends college.

Asked if they got to sample all of Leavitt’s renowned baked treats while creating their work of art, they all laughed, with Carr saying, “Oh yeah, Miss Benish would come here to the bakery and take pictures for us to use for our paintings — and she also brought back treats to inspire us.”

So much for that old saw about starving artists, right?

“They were all very delicious,” said Carr, as Rieser and Gallant nodded in agreement.

Presenting Leavitt’s T-shirts to the students and Benish as a thank you for their creative efforts were Leavitt’s bakers Kristine Garrison and her brother-in-law Nick Garrison, along with Young, who said, "Kristine and Nick are the real stars here at Leavitt's."

Leavitt’s Country Bakery is located at 464 White Mountain Highway in Conway. Hours are 4 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday-Tuesday and Thursday-Saturday and 4 a.m.-noon Sundays (closed Wednesdays). For more information, call (603) 662-0349.

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