Willard Eagle Rainbow Mural Story
This painting is inspired by the teachings of Australian Aboriginal culture and the stories of the famous Rainbow Snake who made the rivers throughout Australia. It teaches us to care for our country and our water. Here Rainbow Snake is our special North Platte River, which runs through our community of Casper and is the source of our water. Rainbow in our painting has an Eagle’s headdress, which is the mascot for our school Willard Elementary.
Our Rainbow Eagle is circled by 3 major trails, which brought thousands of settlers through this land following the river. The backbone of our Rainbow Snake is the horses’ hooves of all the settlers. The main trail is the black outer layer, which represents the Oregon Trail with the white dots representing all our settler ancestors who followed the trail and who now keep watch on us from the stars. The creamy layer represents the California Trail; the yellow dots represent all the people who were seeking fortune during the gold rushes. The creamy layer also represents the clouds that bring us the rain and snow that fills our river each year.
The red layer represents the Mormon Trail. The gold dots represent all the people who were seeking religious freedom and new land. The red layer also represents all the American Indian nations, the first people who followed and drank from this special river. This red is a sacred color that represents the blood of the earth, our beautiful land, and the color you see at Red Buttes and throughout Wyoming. The red and creamy layers alongside each other also represent the joining of Garfield and Willard schools in 2003 to create our present day school. The gold dots in both layers represent all the kids from both schools. The hand stencils around the edges are all the Willard 4th and 5th graders who painted our mural. They also are a tribute to Mick McMurray who was a huge supporter of the Boys & Girls Clubs and many of our Willard kids.
In the top right corner is a special star in honor of our Willard hero Alex Cressy who made the greatest sacrifice, giving up his life to save a friend in our river. We will remember him forever in our mural. This star also reminds us to be careful, pay attention when we are close to water. Our star also represents all the parents who have passed away recently; Michael and Philip’s Dad from 5th and 3rd grade, Hunter’s Dad from 1st grade, Cody our Counselor’s Mum, and all of those that have lost loved ones in the past. We will remember them forever in our mural.
Our mural was designed by Mrs. Davis together with Mrs. Hume and artist in residence Paul Taylor. Special thanks to NCSD Discover Program who sponsored this residency, to Mrs. Hayes and all the teachers and students of Willard Elementary.