'Barlow Road' focus for 2017 Artback restoration
The Estacada Artback artists will embrace history with this year's mural project.
The Artback, the group behind Estacada's eclectic collection of murals, alternates between painting a new mural and restoring an older one each summer. This year, the artists will focus their attention on "An Evening on the Barlow Road," initially designed by lead artist Am Griswold in 2009. The mural will have a new home at Philip Foster Farm National Historic Site, located along the historic Barlow Road.
"It's an amazing fit at Philip Foster Farm," Griswold said. "When (Philip Foster Farm Education Director) Elaine Butler approached me about the idea, I was thrilled. A bolt of electricity went through me."
The mural was originally located on the NAPA Auto Parts building on Southwest Zobrist Street but was removed when the building was remodeled. It's spent the last several years in storage.
Artback will restore the mural and move it to its new home between Sunday, July 16, and Sunday, July 23. The Estacada Summer Celebration, created to celebrate Artback's annual mural project, will take place that weekend in downtown Estacada. During that time, several artists will paint miniature murals in various locations downtown.
"An Evening on the Barlow Road," Artback's main focus this year, depicts pioneers relaxing after a long day of traveling west. Griswold's design features the historic travelers sitting by the fire, pondering what their new homes might be like and enjoying one another's company.
Griswold wanted her design to be "something more personal."
"I thought it would be fun to do something other than just wagon trains," she added.
The mural celebrates the individuality of the pioneers.
"They were all different, and they all had different goals," Griswold said. "I don't know if they would have stopped and celebrate, but maybe they would have when they got close to the end. I imagine just a day's journey was so hard and tiring. At the end of the day, they might have sat around and had a little celebration (as they were nearing their destination)."
To research for the mural, Griswold looked extensively at historic photos.
"I was looking at images of what their equipment, wagons and clothing looked like," she said.
A Nebraska native, Griswold enjoyed the process of researching Oregon's history.
"It was cool to see some of the history I hadn't known about," she said.
Those who look at the mural closely may discover some pleasant surprises, since certain Estacada residents are depicted as pioneers.
"They know who they are," Griswold said with a smile as she declined to identify them.
For a personal touch, the design also features Griswold's late dog.
"I painted my basset hound," she said. "He's long gone for us now, but he's in the mural."
Griswold has been a member of The Artback since 1994. Her first project was organizing a sidewalk chalk mural for local children.