A multicultural mural was completed at Henkle Middle School the last week of Febru-ary with the help of 39 students. It will be placed on permanent display on the east exterior wall at the entrance to the football field.
Phoebe Kruchoski, one of the teachers who helped organize this project, had students from her Community Project Class work on the mural, in addition to a number of other interested students.
The mural was designed by artist-in-residence Michelle Yamamoto.
Yamamoto is member artist at 301 Gallery in Hood River, the art teacher at Wildwood Academy, and artist for Art in Education of the Gorge.
“The design pays homage to different cultural heritages that represent significant history in the greater Gorge area. The Columbia River Gorge represents the life it gives to our orchard industry and sustenance and joy it brings to the Gorge residents and visitors,” said Yamamoto.
Yamamoto wanted the mural to have an inspirational message, “No Act of Kindness No Matter How Small Is Ever Wasted,” and HMS Principal Haley Ortega wanted to make sure both Eng-lish and Spanish were represented in the project.
The mural consists of multiple symbols that reflect on the unique cultures and aspects of the Columbia River Gorge.
In the center is the grizzly bear. In many Native American tribes, the grizzly bear is regarded with awe and respect and considered it sign of strength. (Not to mention that the grizzly is also the HMS mascot.)
Above the grizzly is the Eagle, which symbolizes courage and wisdom in Native American culture.
In the bottom left corner is a skull in the style common in Mexican culture. The skull (calaveras) represents the Day of the Dead (Día de Los Muertos) celebration.
Mexicans are one of the few people in the world that celebrate the dead with a sense of happiness, respect and humour as opposed to sadness.
In the bottom right corner is the Japanese dragon. It represents wisdom, strength, force for good, wind and water.
Yamamoto thanks the Washing-ton State Arts Commission and the White Salmon Valley Educa-tion Foundation, which funded the writing and administering of the Arts Commission grant.