July 7, 2011 in Washington Voices

Shadle Park’s new murals inspired by ponderosa pine

‘Highland Fling’ installed on north wall
By The Spokesman-Review
Dan Pelle photoBuy this photo

Anne Storrs’ mural art pieces hang on the north-facing wall of the new Shadle Park High School gymnasium.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

State program paid for murals

The art at Shadle Park High School is funded by the state’s Art in Public Places Program which comes out of the state’s capital construction budget. Half of 1 percent of construction budgets for state-owned buildings is earmarked for the acquisition of art. Local pieces are part of the state’s art collection, which includes 4,600 individual art pieces acquired over more than 30 years.

Shadle Park High School’s “Highland Fling” will be dedicated at a ceremony planned for September.

Source: Spokane Public Schools

As the construction and remodeling of Shadle Park High School is coming to completion, three huge mural art panels have been installed on the north-facing wall of the gymnasium.

Made by Oregon-based artist Anne Storrs, the name of the piece is “Highland Fling.”

“I often use a plant that’s native to the area when I do my artwork,” said Storrs. “In this case, that’s the pinecone. But I worked through a lot of ideas before I settled on the design for these panels.”

Storrs usually designs bas relief work, a technique that creates reliefs by etching or sanding away stone or cement, so the final project is an integrated part of the building it’s on.

That method wasn’t possible here because the building was already done.

“They would have had to tear the building down for me to do that,” said Storrs. “It was a big difference for me that I was creating something to be installed on a building.”

The three 7-foot by 7-foot panels are made of water jet cut and powder-coated stainless steel, and the pinecones are bas relief made of high fire ceramic.

Initially, the pieces were to be placed on the Ash Street side of the school.

“About two weeks before I was to do the final presentation, I got an email from the jury foreman saying they would like to change the location,” said Storrs. “I was a bit agitated by that. But when I got to Spokane and saw the new location I agreed it’s great. The art has a good sense of place there.”

The panels can be seen all the way from Wellesley Avenue, and create a visual element as visitors and students walk from the north parking lot toward the school.

“If it had been on Ash, you’d just drive by it really fast in a car,” said Storrs. “This project worked out well.”

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