Sorensen students create Tubbs Hill mural

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Tierra Lambert, 10, right, and Liam Hurst, 11, work on a section of a 6 by 40 foot mural of Tubbs Hill Thursday at Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Sciences. The mural was designed by local artist Jessica L. Bryant who has been instructing Sorensen students as they paint the large installation which will be displayed on the outside of the school's gym.

COEUR d'ALENE -The playground at Sorensen Magnet School for the Arts and Humanities will soon be graced with some very special artwork.

The original piece, a large-scale mural depicting Tubbs Hill, will be mounted outside the school on a brick wall next to the play area. Roughly 40 feet long, the mural is the work of many artists' hands, most of them small ones belonging to the school's kindergarten through sixth-grade students.

Jessica Bryant, a local artist whose own children attend Sorensen, is leading the mural project. As the school's fall artist-in-residence, Bryant has been at Sorensen all week, helping the children paint a series of 10 panels that will comprise the mural.

Each year, Sorensen students attend all-day field trips to the publicly-owned 120-acre park in the heart of downtown Coeur d'Alene.

"Our kids are fortunate to have a natural place where they can learn," Bryant said.

With a mural at Sorensen depicting Tubbs' trees, plants and rocks, and the sky and water that surround the park, Bryant said the students' bond with the hill will be strengthened.

"Hopefully, they'll grow up with an attachment to all nature," Bryant said.

While working with Bryant, the kids also learned about art techniques, with each grade completing age-appropriate artistic tasks. Kindergarten and first-grade children used rollers to paint a gradient sky and the water in the background. Fourth-graders added waves and ripple effects to the water, and painted distant mountains. Second-grade students worked on tree trunks and painted rocks.

The children prepared for their art assignments by observing and reflecting on the shapes and colors of the things found on and around Tubbs Hill.

"We tried to keep everything as accurate as possible," Bryant said.

Even the placement of the plants is true to their locations on Tubbs, she said.

Once the mural is mounted, Bryant said they hope to have a public unveiling, and perhaps invite Scott Reed to attend. Reed is a local attorney, conservationist and community benefactor who helped ensure the hill's preservation from development. Several years ago he wrote and published, "The Treasure Called Tubbs Hill."

"He can see that the kids are carrying on his work," Bryant said.

Deanna Laird, 10, takes a bugs-eye view in order to paint greenery on the edge of a section of a large mural depicting Tubbs Hill at Sorensen Magnet School of the Arts and Sciences Thursday. The 6 by 40 foot painting, designed by local artist Jessica L. Bryant, will be displayed outside of the gym upon completion.

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