by Jeremy Couso
Wait! Where is Mrs. Bennett you ask? She and her family are away on vacation this week enjoying the last vestiges of summer before the return to teaching and assorted fall activities. It seems like the older we get the shorter summer vacation gets. Heck, it’s almost Fair time!
She will return next week, but in the meantime, she told me I could write a guest Good Stuff column!
This week I wanted to mention a really neat project going on in uptown Susanville. Mural artist Jacquie Cordova, who originally painted the massive mural in the old Bank of America parking lot in 1983, has returned this summer to lovingly restore the ten-panel, 115-foot-long depiction of Lassen County’s history.
Cordova’s artwork, which she designed and created by herself over a period of months back in the summer of 1983, was intended to chronicle what she considered to be the most important aspects of the community.
The expansive mural endeavors to cover a lot of historical territory… from early Native Americans, through European contact to modern times with Chief Winnemucca among the historical figures shown, along with pioneers, ranchers, loggers and local wildlife set against a backdrop of the Lassen County landscape from Long Valley to Bieber.
The timeline of the mural progresses through early agriculture, cattle ranching, the development of the railroad and the logging industry. It’s quite a mural!
This, unfortunately, is not the first time Cordova has had to renovate this particular piece of wall art.
Time, moisture and freezing temperatures all take their toll on the paints and the substrate itself. The first time Jacquie redid the wall was back in 1992, now another two decades have passed and the wall art needs a little tender love and care.
Her project is being spearheaded by the indefatigable Judith Lowry, whose energy and drive is evident in all aspects of the mural’s renovation. Both Judith and Jacquie have spent the summer up and down on a scissor-lift provided by the City of Susanville, working as long as they can until the heat of day makes it too difficult.
The pair have had help from volunteers, first sanding the entire wall and then painting large chunks of the mural that had been worn away. After volunteers paint the rough sections, Jacquie follows up working in the fine detail.
It should be pointed out that this mural was sort of a pioneering effort itself, and it served as an anchor point for nearly a dozen other murals that followed in uptown, including more work by Jacquie and Judith.
Other artists, like Ben and Leanna Barker, created their own murals around the uptown area, adding to what Jacquie and the “Lassen Performing Arts Council” first started in 1983.
The parking lot belonged to the Bank of America when the mural was first painted, but was recently sold to Lassen Municipal Utility District, who are putting in a lot of work cleaning up the area and making it an integral part of uptown. Having a vibrant, colorful, refreshed mural spanning that entire area is such a blessing.
Thank you Jacquie and Judith for working so hard to make uptown beautiful for the last forty years.
Remember when news was ‘newsy’? When you read about weddings, family events and engagement announcements in the newspaper? If you have something that might be newsworthy, please submit it to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to include it here in “The Good Stuff.”