Education, Scene & Heard, Springfield

No broad strokes about it: Moose mural a detailed panorama of life in southern Willamette Valley

SPRINGFIELD — Driving down Laura Street, passersby may notice a new panoramic scenescape plastered on the side of the Loyal Order of Moose building. Vibrant scenes of wildlife, outdoor recreation, and the community of the Willamette Valley is the product of eight high school students.

The Academy of Arts and Academics (A3) celebrated the completion of its most recent mural on June 27. The students created the mural with the help of Mural Mice Universal, a local community of professional muralists. 

The 81 foot long mural consists of multiple panels that were worked on in the classroom by Madison Forsythe, Dakota Wilson, Karen Perez-Flores, Ellie Sloan, Kayln Brown, Skylar Perk, Maize Foresman, and Zoe Nelson. 

“The river, the covered bridges, I think it’s just a nice representation of the Springfield Lane County area,” administrator of the Moose Lodge Bryan Wickman said. 

Vice president Martin Holland said he contacted his boss at Stedman Sheet Metal to get all the material needed to go behind the panels that the students painted on. Holland even helped install the panels on the side of the building. 

Holland said partnerships like this speak to the Lodge’s mission as a fraternal nonprofit dedicated to helping local elderly and youth, like food and hygiene drives. “We do whatever we can whenever we can to help kids,” Holland said. 

Funding for the mural was a joint effort between the City of Springfield and the Moose Lodge. The City contributed $3,500, and the Moose Lodge fundraised $12,500 from things like bake sales and weekly bingo nights, according to Wickman.

“We’re a supporting agency,” mayor Sean VanGordon said, “One of the special things about Springfield is it’s really a place where people can kind of create and own their own mission.” VanGordon explained that the Lodge and school were the ones driving the project. 

The view of the mural from Laura Street that depicts the Willamette Valley Area.

Ame Beard, principal at A3, expressed gratitude for the financial support from both the lodge and the City. “We can’t pay for the collaborating artists,” she said. “If we didn’t have the city and Moose Lodge support really making this happen, there’s no way that mural would have gone up.” 

Margret Dewar and R. E. Wall, Mural Mice artists, said the students worked over 50 hours on the collaboration over the course of four weeks. 

Dewar said she saw the students overcome the struggles of being an artist, acknowledging that “most people don’t recognize (the artists’ struggle), because they just see beautiful art that they create.” 

Having the opportunity for young artists to work in the field with professionals is an invaluable experience, said Nissie Ellison, the instructor of the class. “(The students) learn so much with a professional artist,” she said. 

“Our school really prepares students for life after high school,” Beard said. “My hope is that (the community of Springfield will) get a lot of pleasure out of (the murals) . . . and how much it’s enhanced the building and the community, but then they’ll also dig into their pockets and think about how we can continue to make this a priority in our community.” 

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