June 25, 2022 — Artist Bayne Gardner had already left his mark at Siuslaw Middle School with the large mural he painted in April on the walls around the school’s outdoor basketball courts. He returned during the last few weeks of the school year and gave the middle school students a chance to leave their mark, too.
For this second mural, the plan was for Gardner, a Lane Arts Council teaching artist and muralist, to help students create their own piece of art. He would do the preliminary planning and the outline and then, under his tutelage, students would take care of the rest.
Gardner spent a few days coming up with the concept. He got the project started by painting a large salmon on the elective hallway. Then the students got to work.
Malakai Moia, who just completed sixth grade, was one of the students helping with the mural.
“I’m painting a salmon,” he said. “The fish I’m painting represents storms and the ocean.”
Each student was allowed to choose which species of fish they wanted to use for their personal piece of art located within the body of the big salmon.
“I chose a flounder,” said Emma Meier, who will be an eighth grader next year. “I just really liked how the fins looked.”
Meier feels like a project like this will benefit her entire school. “I think art like this will bring people together,” she said. “It’s really cool to see different people working on it. It’s not like someone just came in and painted it. You get to see students’ work combined with the work of a professional.”
The flounder appeared to be a popular choice based amongst student artists.
“I chose the flounder because it was a little larger,” said Olivia Gauderman. “I think it’s cool because I can add more designs and art inside of it.”
Gauderman will be in eighth grade next year and agrees that this mural will benefit the entire school.
“I think it’ll be pretty inspirational,” she said. “Hopefully it will inspire people to create more art around the school and do even bigger things.”
By the end of the school year, the mural was complete and the students who helped will be proud to know their work will help to beautify Siuslaw Middle School for many years to come.
Learn more at lanearts.org.