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'Peaceful Vistas' mural returns to its former glory posted on 07/30/2020

Roger Cooke’s 1993 mural, “Peaceful Vistas,” has offered the inspiring image of a pioneer wagon train to passersby on Meinig Avenue between Proctor Blvd. and Pioneer Blvd. in Sandy. The Sandy Arts Commission (SAC) restored the mural last summer and had planned on celebrating the accomplishment in May.

 

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, that celebration was postponed twice. But now, at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, that celebration will finally take place.

“It’s been a year since we started the restoration,” said Becky Hawley, chair of the SAC. “ I feel like this is the culmination of a lot of hard work and a chance to allow us to honor the original artist. I hope that it will focus a positive light on the city’s public art.”

The event and an unveiling of a bronze historical marker honoring Cooke will be held in the parking lot across the street from the mural, at the corner of 17450 SE Meinig Ave. and Pioneer Blvd., offering space enough for participants to practice social distancing.

Hawley and Pamela Smithsted were the lead artists for the restoration work, which included other local artists and featured an almost total repainting of the mural. The only part left untouched was Cooke’s signature.

Cooke, who lived on Marmot Road for many years and was known for his historical depictions of Native American tribes, painted the mural for Oregon’s sesquicentennial celebration. Cooke painted more than 60 murals, including in small towns along the Oregon Trail.

Restoration work took more than three weeks to complete with volunteers contributing more than 280 hours. Other painters included Marcia Morrow, Arts Commissioner and Wy’east Artisans Guild (WAG) president, WAG members Micaiah Meyer and Vern Groff, Lori Putman of the Sandy Historical Society and Taylor West, a recent graduate of Sandy High School.

Hawley noted that the restoration process was fun in part due to people in cars who were stopped at the traffic light in the intersection and took the opportunity to honk their horn or shout out encouragement.

“We realized what a need there was for a bronze plaque with info on the artist and the history,” she added.

Hawley also noted the mural was in sad shape in some areas before the restoration, including portions that had completely lost the paint. Fortunately, most of those areas were part of the sky, where Cooke had not used many layers of paint.

“The majority of foreground was still intact,” Hawley said. “We were able to use a clear primer over the existing mural and then do a kind of paint by number, using pattern underneath.”

The effort was helped by Ernie Brache of AEC, who loaned the use of a scissor-lift for the duration of the project, and John and Allison Milward, of Ace Hardware, who offered supplies.

Prints of Cooke’s work are expected to be available at the celebration, with proceeds benefiting the City of Sandy’s Arts Fund.

“I’m just hoping that this will be a positive show of appreciation for Sandy’s public art and appreciation for what has gone into saving it,” Hawley said.

For more information about the ceremony, email CityArt@cityofsandy.com.

By Garth Guibord/MT

 

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