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NORTH SEATTLE COLLEGE MURAL PROJECT

Wetlands

North Seattle College offers ART 204: Mural Art Course under instruction from Kelda Martensen. The course focuses on painting public art murals, budgets, schematics, paint application, and preservation, with the design created by a professional artist.

The NSC Art Council reviewed the mural call submissions, and Paige Pettibon's design has been chosen for the 2021 campus mural. The mural call sought an Indigenous Artist to create a design that would center our Indigenous student and staff population. Pettibon is an artist based in Tacoma, and her studio practice highlights the perspectives of Indigenous folks and their relations. In step with the mural call, her goal for the mural was to create a design that creates a sense of pride and respect for the land we occupy. Pettibon is black, white, and Salish, from the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. Pettibon's design will be painted by students in ART 204 Mural Art, led by instructor Kelda Martensen.

When Kelda informed Paige of the scenery of the grounds she noted the wetlands ecology around the campus. This gave Paige the idea to pay homage to the natural plants and animal relatives.

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The scene depicts an ambiguous shift of day and night representing the long hard hours students face while studying. As masters of two worlds, academia, and home life, this is symbolized by the frog, waterfowl, and otters, who are masters of the water and land.

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All the animal and plant people are connected, the frog has the moth on his back, the heron has a snake in her throat, the otters have shells in their belly and shell shape for their noses, the otter body shape is replicated on the branch of the madrone tree, a blade of grass in the belly of the ducks, the duck shape form the snake.

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This mural was a true collaboration built on trust and flexibility among the student, staff, and my partner Zeke Alexander. I am so grateful for the kind welcoming nature of North Seattle College. They made me feel recognized and cherished. I am so grateful for my partner Zeke, without his expertise in design and guidance this project wouldn't have the impact we executed.

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