New murals completed at Siuslaw Middle School

Lane Arts Council muralist Jessilyn Brinkerhoff created murals at Siuslaw Middle School honoring local culture and school spirit.

Artistic collaboration celebrates community, land and history

Feb. 17, 2021 — Lane Arts Council and Siuslaw Middle School this week announced the completion of two new murals at the middle school. Local muralist and Lane Arts Council teaching artist, Jessilyn Brinkerhoff, completed a large-scale mural on a previously empty gymnasium wall and worked with students to paint murals in the entry hallway leading to the gymnasium.

The murals were supported by a grant from the Western Lane Community Foundation with additional support from the Florence Elks Club and Driftwood Shores.

The designs for the murals were created through a community feedback process involving students, staff, parents and community members, including Siuslaw Tribal members. What resulted was a beautiful depiction of the local community, land and history.

The gymnasium mural depicts the Oregon Dunes, the Siuslaw River, traditional Siuslaw canoes and local flora. Right of the mural reads, “Chi Taiyuu,” a Sha’yuushtl’a phrase that translates to “Water is life.”

The use of Siuslaw Middle School colors, yellow and blue, create a sense of pride and place.

Siuslaw Middle School art teacher Lauren Suveges expressed what the mural meant to staff and students.

“One staff member who helped with the hallway mural thanked me and said she felt like a part of Siuslaw Middle School history. My students’ faces — or eyes, I should say — lit up when they were painting,” she said. “With the past year’s events, a pause to return to something active and creative was so needed for them. Because art is such an integral part of my everyday life, I sometimes forget its power to inspire, heal and encourage. The murals did just that.”

The hallway mural shows students engaging in a variety of activities from playing basketball to making art. Utilizing the same colors as the gymnasium, this mural connects the two works of art and remind viewers of who these murals and this building are truly for: the students.

This project was created as part of Lane Arts Council’s arts education programs.

Lane Arts Council is a nonprofit organization that works to cultivate strong and creative arts communities throughout Lane County. It provides high-quality arts experiences, engaging people of all ages in arts education and encouraging artistic endeavors.

For over 40 years, Lane Arts Council has provided arts education programming in schools throughout Lane County. These programs engage students in visual and performing arts with professional teaching artists, creating opportunities for students to learn new skills and methods of expression, develop creative thinking and build self-confidence.

For more information, visit www.lanearts.org.

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