Middleschool art teacher Ross Roadruck spent three days at Colusa High School with students, doing activities, and workshops to inspire an artistic version of their home town in a mural.
“I took different pictures around town and the students drew on top of the picture of what they would want their idea to look like,” said Roadruck, who then took the student’s ideas and streamlined them into the collaboration. “Truthfully, there were way more good ideas than could fit in one piece and make sense.”
The repeating images were agriculture, silhouettes of the Sutter Buttes, field rows, orchards, and the river. Roadruck incorporated the themes and sketched them on the north and east walls of the community pool. “There’s this silhouette of the Buttes that go the whole way around the edge, and the blue is the river flowing throughout,” said Roadruck. “All the striping is representative of the fields and orchards in an aerial view.”
Students were also inspired by the sunsets which was an important element to the mural.
“One of the repeating patterns from the students were sunsets or sunrises,” said Sierra Reading, fellow artist, educator and Colusa High School graduate. “Ross took a picture of a beautiful sunset on Lonestar Road and found the colors that were in that photograph, and that is our main pallet that is throughout the mural as well.”
A few students that had contributed to the images have been coming to the site and volunteering their time to see their ideas on display. An invitation for anyone that collaborated on the project has been extended and Reading is hopeful that more students will take an active role in beautification of their city.
“If we want to be able to build a lot of pride in our town, then the first place to do it is with student ownership, and that kind of awareness that this is your place that you can have impact on it,” said Reading.
Reading said that City Manager Jesse Cain has been instrumental in helping the project along and has given his support for future projects. The next mural planned will be at Davison Drugs in a couple of weeks.
Roadruck said that he hopes that having the mural painted will build momentum that will make people see art as a viable interest to pursue.
“It’s like a seed that’s planted that could become an ongoing thing that could be more and more student-driven,” said Roadruck. ■