Library mural to reflect children's literature

Artist Terra Howard paints on Saturday, adding the finishing touches to the pastel colored background.

Artist Terra Howard paints on Saturday, adding the finishing touches to the pastel colored background. Photo by Alfred Diaz.



Vicki Shafer paints a pastel to create a background scene for a mural that will contain 73 book characters painted by local children. Shafer is one of the original artist who painted the first mural in the early 1990s.


Walla Walla Public Library

238 E Alder St, Walla Walla

Walla Walla Public Library

WALLA WALLA — Artists are recreating the kids mural on the north wall of the Poplar Street library parking lot, with a few changes this time.

The previous mural — which has already been covered over with 15 gallons of blue, lavender, green, yellow and other pastel acrylic paints — was centered on numerous American folklore characters painted by fifth-graders of Prospect Point Elementary in the early 1990s.

Two decades later, the concept has pretty much remained the same, explained organizers and original artists Vicky Shafer and Jeanne McMenemy.

The difference this time is both are getting a lot more help from younger paid artists.

“We would love to be more involved in it, but we really can’t be that involved,” McMenemy said on Saturday, while paid artists Terra Howard and Anna Shafer painted on, as they have been doing most mornings last week.

Starting this week, however, the adult artists will get some help from little hands.

As with the last mural, local children will get to paint their favorite characters.

But this time those young artists won’t be limited to American folklore, as the mural characters have been opened up to all children’s book characters.

It all started last spring when Shafer organized a contest for local elementary and middle school students, including Homelink students.

The children were asked to submit their own drawing of a favorite book character, with the chance that they might get picked to paint their character on the new mural.

Close to 200 drawings were entered and 73 winning designs were chosen.

This week, the children’s designs will be traced on the newly painted scenery with an overhead projector.

Then on Friday and Saturday for the next two weeks, those chosen second- through eighth-graders will begin painting characters like Skippyjon Jones, Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, R2-D2 and Fly Guy.

After they are done, the adult artists will embellish the designs where needed, just like they did with the original mural.

“In the last mural the characters needed a lot more detail, and we had to fill in and trace fine black lines,” Shafer said.

The project is being paid for by an anonymous donations, and Shafer said the driving force behind the new mural has been her husband, Ned.

“He thought that it had gotten to be an eyesore. So he took it upon himself to raise the money,” Shafer said.

Shafer said she expects the mural to be completed by the end of September.


amenielsen 2 years, 12 months ago

How did the Public Library get permission to paint trademarked characters? Just wondering.


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