Tooele Transcript Bulletin – News in Tooele, Utah
image Clarissa Douglas paints a mural of an owl at Rose Springs Elementary. More than six years of wall paintings at the elementary school have led to a new mural wall being set aside for future students. photo courtesy of Audry Fenton

December 16, 2012
Rose Springs students give new mural stamp of approval

Six and a half years ago, students moving into junior high from Rose Springs Elementary left their mark on the school by painting imaginative creatures onto a giant mural of a mountain, ocean and desert that plastered a stretch of the left wall in the main hall.

The oldest of those students, now high school seniors, can now go back to find not only their own contributions, but a vivid new mural directly across the hall, waiting for the imprint of an entire group of new elementary students.

“The year before I got here there was kind of a tradition established that the students would have an opportunity to leave a lasting imprint of their experience of their time here at Rose Springs,” said Leon Jones, principal at Rose Springs. “Now we have a whole new crop of students that we’d like to give that opportunity to.”

The second mural was timed perfectly. According to Jones, he had been hoping for a mural for some time, and with the last of the contributors to the first mural graduated into seventh grade, it was a good time to continue the tradition. He said the school will create a new mural every seven years, when the youngest students who contribute to the mural have graduated to junior high.

“The spacing is a big reason why we can only do it every seven years,” said Jones. “If we space it out, we only need to come up with seven spaces for murals in 50 years.”

This mural was done by local artist and Lake Point resident Clarissa Douglas, owner of Green Owl Design and Photography. The project took two weeks and about 20 hours to complete. The result was a mural painted across an expanse of 31-by-15 feet.

The mural depicts a giant, cartoon owl with a speech bubble saying, “Rattlesnakes rule,” and a rattlesnake replying, “Yessss.” Rattlesnakes are the school mascot and, ironically, the artist’s greatest phobia. The owl next to it, according to Douglas, was painted mainly to counteract the scary effect of the snake and because owls are known for being wise.

“I said to Mr. Jones, ‘If you knew how I felt about snakes, you would not have asked me to do this mural,’” said Douglas.

According to Douglas, she tried to make the snake as friendly-looking as possible.

In the hours spent painting during school hours, Douglas aid she received enthusiastic feedback from the students.

“They are really excited,” said Jones. “While she was up painting she got so many wonderful responses from the kids ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing.’”

Now that the base for the mural is finished, the children will have their turn to participate. During the students’ art classes that take place once every other week, they have been working to create their own personalized stamps. The students are designing images and will later transfer them onto stamps. Then, each student will use a color of paint that corresponds with the area of mural they are doing and will stamp their design into the paint and place it on the wall. When finished, there will be about 820 stamps across the mural.

“They are putting their names, a design, a small picture or even their number from their sports team on the stamps,” said Jones. “It’s going to be a very personalized thing.”

With a fresh design and contribution, the students are scheduled to stamp the wall the week after returning from Christmas break.

“Rather than copy the old design, we came up with a new one,” said Jones. “We wanted them to have a totally unique opportunity.”

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