Springfield Students Create Murals For Survivors Of Holiday Farm Fire
After hearing firsthand accounts from survivors of last year’s Holiday Farm fire, a group of Springfield high school students wanted to do something to help with restoration. The twelve teens worked all summer on a mural project recently unveiled in Blue River.
The 7-foot round murals each contain colorful images telling a story of the McKenzie River. The art pieces are being installed on the sides of several volunteer-built “sheds of hope” which sit on burnt out properties along the fire’s path.
Shasta Meyers is a junior at Academy of Arts and Academics.
“I got involved with this because I really love art and I saw a good cause that I really wanted to help with, you know? And give back to the community in the way that I could.”
Eddie Willers is a senior at A3. He described one of the murals he worked on.
“It’s more of a forested, scenic view with a waterfall," he said. "There’s a little butterfly at the bottom. There’s no butterflies in the other ones.”
Springfield art teacher Shelley Albrich said the mural project started with inspiration.
“The residents of Blue River, the artists, came and talked to the students the very first day and there was not a dry eye," said Albrich. "The artists from the community of Blue River explained what happened last year at this time, profoundly impacting the students and myself.”
Sheri Smith-Holgate, a pine needle basket maker and resident of the McKenzie River since 1973 is one of the artists who shared her experience.
“I just told them our story. We just told them about our night [of the fire.] Scary. So scary.”
Smith-Holgate added it was an emotional thing for herself and for the students. She appreciates how the feelings of fire survivors were translated in their artwork.
The murals can be seen around Blue River and on some of the Sheds of Hope which are visible from Highway 126.
The McKenzie River Mural Project was supported by several participating groups including Roundhouse Foundation, Lane Education Service District, Lane Workforce, Springfield High School, McKenzie High School and PIVOT Architecture.