Save Our Murals
Billings Senior High murals are a tradition at Senior since 1947, initiated by art teacher, Earl Bailey. Dolores Keller's mural from 1947, the earliest mural, still graces the 3rd floor SW corner. Over the years, over 100 murals have been added to the walls of Senior.
Save Our Murals Committee:
A small volunteer committee with roots from 2008 has taken on the project of preserving the murals, because gradually many murals have been painted over or covered. Many murals need cleaning, repair and/or lighting.
The 2014-2016 volunteer committee consisted of: Kristeen Keup, Sally McIntosh, Lyn McKinney, Linda Meyer, Bob Nolte, Susan Nybo, Nancy McManus, and Bruce and Marilee Ryniker. Senior student, Hannah Lose, joined the committee to work on her senior 2014 Platinum Project until her 2015 graduation in May. Our 75th commemorative muralists, Senior High students Paul Haesemeyer and Morgan Legare, joined the committee in 2015. Morgan is a 2016 graduate; Paul continues as a committee member. Peter Tolton, former Senior student, joined as well.
Nancy Petersen, retired Senior High Art Department Coordinator, has been a devoted and staunch supporter of the mural project.
Les Heins and Leo Olson, former art teachers, have shared expertise.
Jim Heins offered brochure assistance.
Karen Tanner designed our mural poster.
Professional photos have been taken by Senior High photography teacher, Houston Harmon, of over 110 murals still in existence. Harmon's photos and bios, completed by members of the committee, are featured in a 144 page commemorative book, If the Walls Could Speak, published by Billings printer, Artcraft Printers, in November, 2015.
If The Walls Could Speak:
Books may be purchased for $45 at Caramel Cookie Waffle (check with Judy Boogman).
Proceeds from the book sale and other fundraisers benefit preservation and lighting for the murals.
Members of the committee have been attending reunions and art walks to sell books and to advertise the project. Reunions have been very generous donors to the project.
Two Open Houses have celebrated the book and have shared the amazing art with our community. A mural map was created for self-guided tours and is available in the main office. The book is also designed to be used as a tour guide.
The November 2015 Open House featured our book launch and an art auction, with proceeds donated to the mural project.
Local media has been exceptionally supportive.
Facebook page: Billings Senior High Save Our Murals Supporters
Kristeen Keup wrote and received a $1000 grant from community supporter, Billings Community Foundation in partnership with the Matthews-Dousman Memorial Endowment, toward creating and installing signage for the murals.
The vision/intention/goal of the committee is to produce the book to commemorate the history and existence of the art project at Senior and to sell them in order to:
1. Provide scholarships for students who apply to the Senior art department to create a mural. Once approved by the art department, the artist may receive a scholarship for necessary supplies for completion of the project.
2. Provide necessary funds for art teachers and students who can refurbish/repair damaged murals (and possible necessary training).
3. Provide necessary funds for art teachers and students who can clean murals (and possible necessary training).
4. Maintain signage for new murals (Mick in Red Lodge at email@example.com).
5. Store mural books. They are currently being stored at no cost at the printshop, 2001 1st Ave N.
6. Help sell the remaining 300 books, with help from Caramel Cookie Waffle, who are taking no percentage.
7. ALL proceeds benefit the mural project and are to be used for mural-related activities.
8. It would be nice to keep at least one committee member in the loop in an ex-officio capacity.
9. One of our dreams is to get a history/copy of the book into the Smithsonian. This is a very unique project, including the existence of this much original student art under one roof.
10. Maintain the school mural website.
11. Possibly create an essay addition. Since the artists each submit an essay, it would be an intriguing addition to the murals to frame and display the artist essays by each mural, or to display as many essays as can be found.
11. With lowered ceilings, the need for some lighting could be investigated.
Students at Senior High walk through 75 years of art history every day enjoying 110 murals on school halls.
Senior High alumni, community members, students and staff compiled the histories of the muralists and their art and created the iconic book, If The Walls Could Speak, printed by Artcraft Printers in Billings. 100 lb velvet cover, SFI. Trim size 12 X 9. 100 lb velvet text, SFI. 4 color process throughout...offset litho. Perfect 144 page bindery.
All proceeds benefit preservation, restoration, cleaning, lighting, creation and signage for the murals.
Check out the Facebook group page: Billings Senior High Save Our Murals Supporters and become a member.