Kristen Lockwood is working on large mural featuring outdoor activities for the Opstad Elementary School gym. She plans to have the mural complete by October. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

North Bend artist creates mural for Opstad Elementary

With the help and generosity from the community around her, North Bend artist Kristin Lockwood is working on a year-long project to create a 25-foot mural for Opstad Elementary School in North Bend.

Lockwood, who moved with her husband to North Bend in 2007, was approached with a request to create a large mural about outdoor activities by Opstad PE teacher Mark McConnell. Lockwood, who was formerly a university art teacher and has earned a master’s degree in drawing and painting from the University of Arizona, accepted the request in 2016 and has been working on it throughout this school year.

“Since it’s in the gym (McConnell) wanted it to be focused on sports activities. This painting is mainly based on individual sports activities, mountain biking hiking, swimming, skiing, snowshoeing,” Lockwood said. “It’s going to have Mount Si, a canoer, people jogging, flying kites, jumping rope, different independent activities people can do outside.”

The mural is 25 feet long, five feet tall and stretches across seven wood panels. Lockwood is working with acrylic paints to create the scene as she outlines and fills in her landscape. Wood panels were chosen over canvas because they are more cost effective and will last longer, she said.

Because the mural will be placed above the rock wall in the Opstad Gym, Lockwood took care to make sure that the primary elements of the painting were visible from a distance. She had to adjust perspective and paint some of important elements, such as people participating in various activities and sports, larger than they would normally appear.

“All the sports activities and all the wildlife, to include all that I had to morph space and have figures and elements overlapping one another,” she said. “I’m playing with spatial relationships in that way so the objects are visible from way up high.”

Lockwood hopes to have the outline of the entire piece composed in two or three months, then will move on to filling in and developing the outline. She hopes to have the mural complete by October.

While the project was not funded through the PTA, Lockwood has pursued other methods of funding for the project and has received help from the Black Dog Arts Coalition (BDAC), which set up a gofundme.com crowd-funding page to accept donations.

“Mark McConnell the PE teacher at Opstad, he has been talking with me for a few years about doing a mural in the gym and last year I said I would do it,” Lockwood said. “ Any funds collected through (the gofundme page) go to the Black Dog Arts Coalition and then they sponsor this. The gofundme page is set up for $4,000, right now I’ve received $1,500. Then I had some people directly donating to the BDAC. I got $2,000 from the BDAC directly, so I got about $3,500 so far.”

Finding funding for the project through a community oriented method like crowd-funding has been one of the main motivating factors for Lockwood. She hopes that, in addition to showing kids how fun outdoor activities can be, the mural will instill an interest in art and painting at a young age.

“This inspires me, seeing that people are supportive, energetic and happy, seeing a different level of support. We are going to have a plaque by the mural itself that will have everybody’s name who helped support the project,” she said. “I hope this leads to future murals, that would be awesome.”

For more information on her work, visit KristinLockwood.com.

The mural is 25-feet long and five-feet tall. Lockwood works on it in her home studio, which has a homemade easel that runs across the entire length of the wall. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

Lockwood has also worked on posters from community events like concerts at Black Dog Arts Cafe and student plays at Twin Falls Middle School. (Evan Pappas/Staff Photo)

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