Ever wonder how that enormous and beautiful mural in the Silver Stage Commons was created? Here’s an article from November of 2011 that gives the backstory:
Silver Springs, Nevada -Silver Stage High students are leaving a positive mark on their school – literally! Students designed and began painting a striking 120 foot mural in the school Commons last year, and put the finishing touches on their artwork this Fall. The mural will be the focus of a dedication ceremony during a community Thanksgiving dinner at SSHS on Nov. 19, 2019 and state and regional officials have been invited to attend the event as well.
How Did the Mural Get Started? The mural got its start when Silver Stage Task Force, a community volunteers branch of Healthy Communities Coalition, helped fund visiting artist Cassandra Darrough to lead a mural project with students. Cassandra then worked with S-Club (a teen service club co-sponsored by the high school and Soroptimists) members who sponsored and worked together on the project with Silver Stage High School (SSHS) art students and other volunteers from the SSHS student body.
Designing the mural began with a number of discussion meetings so the students could choose the message they wanted to convey through the mural. S-Club Advisor Peggy Edwards explained that “S-Club had an existing anti-bullying campaign, and after talking with the artist Cassandra Darrough, we learned that a mural could be a great way to bring students together across all boundaries that might separate them. This gave diverse groups a chance to work together toward one goal: getting to know each other and forming a community.”
The students then worked together to design a mural that would be a lasting legacy for the school and community showing images of the journey from high school to successful futures. This journey is symbolized with scenes of summer, fall, winter and spring in Silver Springs, with images of things the students love about their community – wild horses, the school and mountains. The focal point of the mural is a large tree with a banner that reads, “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Begins With a Single Step.”
Students first worked with artist Cassandra Darrough of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, her senior apprentice Misty Barlese, and Silver Stage teacher and artist Edward Durand to sketch rough drafts of the mural on paper. They then spent many hours on the unglamorous, but very important process of “prepping” the mural area with a foundation of paint before beginning to paint the background, and finally, the images.
Nearly 100 Students and Many Staff Members Volunteered: In the end, dozens of students from the small school of about 370 students participated as “Junior Mural Apprentices”, and many school staff members volunteered their time to support the project.
Soroptimist S -Club Advisor Silver Stage Task Force member Peggy Edwards noted that “Silver Stage High’s art teacher Mr. Durand and Master Artist Cassandra Darrough are amazing, and kind, mentors.” The welcoming and creative atmosphere resulted in many students and a number of staff including teacher Edward Durand, S -Club Faculty Advisor Anna Brueher, Soroptimist S -Club Advisor Peggy Edwards, school principal Patrick Peters, school Counselor Marla Gleason, and teacher Peggy Merrell staying late into the evening to supervise and/or donating after-schools snacks and meals in their eagerness to support the project.
Adult Artists Mentored Students’ Work: Artist Cassandra Darrough matched the funding she received for her guidance on the project with many additional volunteer hours. Cassandra was supportive of the students’ ideas during the mural development process, and encouraged them to add their own personal style. Art teacher Edward Durand, who came on board with the project and spent many hours with his students working on the mural, explained “I guess the most impressive aspect of our mural has been the student involvement. A large number worked long hours after school and weekends. Professionally I have wanted to do a mural for 13 years with students. To be able to see a student-led mural develop and grow in meaning and size (120 feet by 12 feet) has been a high point. Even during the summer students asked to come to school to work on the mural. Having the grant originate through Healthy Communities Coalition provided the extra push to get our school community started on this important and influential project.”
Students Gain Skills For Art Related Careers at Silver Stage High School: Some students who participated on the mural project are learning skills for art-related careers at the school as well. Silver Stage High currently offers a number of Career and Technical Education classes that may be particularly appealing to students with an interest in art and design, including CAD Design and Cabinet Making, and Printmaking and Graphic Productions (students apply their computer skills in Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and Corel Painter to silk screen over 1,000 shirts commercially each year). These Career and Technical Education classes offer students ways to become skilled in fields they’re passionate about, so that they have additional hirable skills when they leave high school. The school also offers Art, Drawing, and Pottery.
The completed mural was dedicated and all who helped create the mural were recognized during the 2011 community Thanksgiving dinner at SSHS.