After many months of work, a mural for Opstad Elementary School’s gym is complete and installed, thanks to local artist Kristin Lockwood.
Lockwood, a North Bend resident for more than 10 years, was invited last year to create a large mural for the gym depicting outdoor activities around the area. She said she worked on the 25-foot long, 5-foot tall mural for about six months before she completed it.
The mural is divided into seven wood panels that made it easy to break down for transport to the school once it was finished.
“Knowing how high the mural was going to be helped me figure out the size of figures on the piece, they had to be big,” she said. “(Opstad PE teacher Mark McConnell) was asking for outdoor sports activities, and I wanted to incorporate the environment of North Bend and the native wildlife.”
The mural depicts children biking, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing, and other outdoor activities across all four seasons. By incorporating native animals and the local environment, Lockwood depicted more than just sports that can be done outside.
“I didn’t want to just be about sports, I wanted it to engage kids in general about different things they could do outside and draw an appreciation about the world around them,” she said. “Like photography or reading. I changed the tents into books and had the kids lying underneath the books as if they are reading outside.”
Lockwood also incorporated the school mascots for Opstad, Twin Falls Middle School, and Mount Si High School into the mural as a representation of the path the Opstad students will likely take through their education in the district.
The piece was funded by a crowdfunding campaign on gofundme.com through the Black Dog Arts Commission. Lockwood said that through crowdfunding and other donations she met her $4,000 goal for the project.
Once the painting was done, a layer of varnish was applied to the mural to help protect it from contact damage during transfer. On Thursday, Dec. 28, the mural was disassembled, stacked in the truck of Lockwood’s car, and driven to Opstad. School district maintenance staff members installed the sign in the Opstad gym above the rock climbing wall.
A plaque with the names of all the people who donated to the project is planned to be installed below the mural, Lockwood added.
Now that the big project is done, Lockwood said she has a few other art projects to work on in the new year, but would also like to do another large mural again for a community space like the new Mount Si High School or the Si View Community Center.
“The joy of painting this and getting something out for the community was the most important thing to me,” Lockwood said. “It’s special to have support by the community for something like this. Having that support and the kids being able to see a large piece of artwork that has a lot of time put into it, it helps with their imaginations. It makes art more accessible, they can express themselves in more ways.”