The students of Mountview Elementary School have been treated to a beautiful new school mural courtesy of lakecity artist Tiffany Jorgensen.
Jorgensen has been a well-known artist in the community for years, typically working on a commission basis to create portraits and landscapes. Most recently she was announced the winner of the 2019 Williams Lake Stampede poster contest and her works most recently have been appearing in art shows at Dance in Common.
All three of Jorgensen’s daughters go to Mountview and she said she’s been looking to do something for the school for a while. In October of 2018, she expressed interest in creating a mural that represented the school’s spirit and values.
Principal Craig Munroe said when she brought the idea to him initially, he was immediately on board and brought the proposition before Mountview’s PAC for funding for the required supplies. Initially Jorgensen had wanted to paint the mural on an outside wall, however, Munroe said they chose instead to put it on a “nice freshly painted wall with nothing on it.” She then chose to paint the mural on a series of panels so that she could work on it from home.
Getting the students involved in the mural’s creation and inception was of key importance, so Munroe instructed all his teachers to ask their students what things they would like to see in a mural of their school. Once all their ideas about how life at Mountview should be portrayed were gathered, Munroe gave them to Jorgensen to use for inspiration.
“My part in all of this was just to facilitate it actually happening but all the hard work came from her and the PAC generously donated the funds to cover all the materials that she needed,” Munroe said.
Getting the green light from Munroe was exciting for Jorgensen as she saw this mural as a real way to contribute to her daughters’ school that she will be a parent at for 13 years. When Jorgensen received the collection of ideas from the students for the mural she was “so blown away by how creative” and interesting they were. She was so impressed that she did her best to choose four ideas from each class and incorporate them in some way into the mural.
Indeed the centrepiece of the mural, the word Mountview spelled out using current students, was an idea from the Grade 6 class. Jorgensen was sure to use students of all ages, races and backgrounds while selecting models for the mural and took the time to create striking likenesses of each.
One of her favourite parts of the mural are the trees with positive messages carved into them which spells out Mountview’s code of conduct, ROAR: responsibility, opportunity, acceptance and respect. The school’s mascot, a cougar, is also featured, as is the mountains that give Mountview its name.
The overall effect of the mural is something like a Where’s Waldo book, with a variety of hidden references and little puzzles hidden within the artwork, for the students to find. Almost all of these little details come directly from the students, with Jorgensen putting her own realism mixed with fantasy spin on them.
Working with the students was one of the most rewarding aspects of this project for her and made it all worth it. The result, she said, represents all that Mountview and its students are as a school and a community.
“This is them, this is their commission really, this (mural) is their ideas brought to life. This is totally Mountview,” Jorgensen said. “It’s just such a great school and community and I’m just so happy I got to do this.”
So far the reaction to the mural has been tremendous, according to Munroe. After its installation last week, he called the students down in classes to see the mural and have Jorgensen explain how she incorporated their ideas into the mural.
The excitement they felt as they packed into the hallway was palpable, he said.
“The kids that are a part of the actual letters can identify themselves very easily because she’s so good at what she does. It’s an amazing mural and it’s been very popular,” Munroe said. “We’re truly blessed to have her as a member of our parent group.”