As a contribution to the vision of Calaveras Big Trees State Park, the Arts of Bear Valley piloted a children’s mural project, titled “Footprints in the Park” over the 4th of July week. It brought many families into the Park—with some even returning to the reception to see the finished product.

The design and most of the background painting was done our very talented artist member Elaine Cahill, and it was her husband Tom Cahill who came up with a sturdy way to hang and display the 5′ x 10′ canvas piece. Applying the finished canvas art pieces was a challenging and labor-intensive project. We have to thank Janet Alcalde and Elaine Cahill for crawling around on the floor with—yes—glue and brayers for many afternoons to accomplish the nice finished look of the mural.

When children approached the mural they were given a choice of coloring in a stenciled footprint of various wild animals of the Park, or they could choose to color on predrawn canvasses, depicting Park flora and fauna. There are even a couple Big Foots…if you look closely.

For education and reference, member Jan Alcalde made a nice display of photos which showed most of the animals that are commonly found in Calaveras Big Trees State Park. She also researched local wildflowers and made prints which children could sit and color while they waited for their turn to do the mural.

A few hundred happy children came and went over the ten-day period. Proud parents clicked away with their phones and cameras.

In their wake is a child’s view of Big Trees State Park which we hope will provide smiles for years to come.

by Deborah Marlene (Kearney),
Chairman, Art in the Park