Lewis & Clark School Mural, 2003

5th grade collaborative mural project, Lewis & Clark Elementary, St. Helens, Oregon 2003

5th grade collaborative mural project, Lewis & Clark Elementary, St. Helens, Oregon 2003

In 2003 I organized and directed the painting of this huge collaborative mural depicting the journey of Lewis and Clark for a local elementary, aptly name Lewis and Clark Elementary in St. Helens, Oregon.  It took several months of working Saturdays, but it was well worth it in the end!

The first part was researching info so that the 5th graders that were chosen by teachers could create panels that illustrated important spots along the trail taken by Lewis and Clark.  Each panel was painted solely by a team of 2 fifth graders and had to be historically accurate and supported by actual research.  I did this part so we could move forward with the actual painting.

Next came design decisions about the illustrating and working as a team to come up with good visuals to go along with the pre-determined written descriptions of each spot on the trail.

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Students working on painting the panels with parent volunteers helping keep students on task...

Students working on painting the panels with parent volunteers helping keep students on task…

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Again, the work had to be historically accurate:  the longboat that took the Corp of Discovery down the Missouri river couldn’t be purple just cause you liked the color.  Oh well, back to the drawing board…

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The next bit was for parent volunteers to make the larger than life interpretive map of the United States on the front hall.  This was an exciting process for everyone and we even got the principal in on the act…

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Me showing folks that we were going to have to lightly sand the whole thing before painting... thank goodness for the scaffolding!

Me showing folks that sorry, but we were going to have to lightly sand the whole, entire thing before painting… thank goodness for the scaffolding!

We drew out the outline using old school tech, and then per my directions, we sectioned the map into what part of the U.S. was owned by what country during the journey and then color coded it with paint and a key.  Portfolio mural artwork etc 330 Portfolio mural artwork etc 331

Working on the map with lovely parent, teacher, and principal volunteers.

Working on the map with lovely parent, teacher, and principal volunteers.

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More painting work…

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More work on supervising the completion of the panels.

I added a little bit to help explain who started this whole crazy idea in the first place...

I added a little bit to help explain who started this whole crazy idea in the first place…

While the work was gradually finishing up on the student-created panels, which were being hung and covered with plexiglas as they were done, I added a little bit of cartoony stuff to add to the overall educational  aspect of the mural.  I made a point of being kinda rough with my work so as not to outshine the work of the 5th graders.

To finish the work, I painted a little vignette of some of the characters that made a major contribution to the original project.

To finish the work, I painted a little vignette of some of the characters real-life size that made a major contribution to the original project.

Wall before we started the project...

Wall before we started the project…

5th grade collaborative mural project, Lewis & Clark Elementary, St. Helens, Oregon 2003

5th grade collaborative mural project, Lewis & Clark Elementary, St. Helens, Oregon 2003

 

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