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Mural brightens Hillyard building

On Track students pitch in

Students from Spokane Public Schools’ On Track Academy, a Hillyard-based alternative high school, have been working long shifts to finish an outdoor mural on North Market Street.

The mural features a train winding down the tracks and a phoenix flying up toward the sky. It was designed by On Track students with the help of Cassie Stratton, a recent Whitworth University graduate, community volunteer and self-described starving artist.

“I think we spent 40 hours on the design and about a month on the actual painting,” Stratton said Monday morning, while she was getting ready for one of the last painting sessions.

Stratton met with students at the alternative school and listened to their ideas, then came up with a preliminary design.

The mural is being painted on the south side of the Tread Tech building, 5218 N. Market St., and it lights up the alley leading out to Market Street.

Elisabeth Silver, a teacher at On Track, said the school was approached by the organization Hillyard Futures and asked if students would be interested in painting murals.

“We are all about providing hope and improving the community so we said yes,” Silver said. Ziggy’s Building Materials donated $250 worth of paint to the project and sold the rest of the paint needed at cost. Hillyard Futures picked up part of the bill, too.

Silver said On Track students may tackle other murals in Hillyard but that the projects would have to be smaller.

“This was a huge project – if we do it again it would have to be more sustainable,” Silver said. “We have gotten great feedback from people here. They really like it.”

About 40 students and many community members worked on the mural under Stratton’s direction.

“I was always here, even when I was sick,” Stratton said, laughing. “It’s been great.”

Watch Pia Hallenberg talk about this story on KHQ