Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Welcome Home Warriors, Vietnam War Mural Project. Photos of artists Linda Shader and Echo Westover by Hime Romero, Manteca Bulletin.

Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project

Yucca Valley Artists Awarded International Commission to Honor Vietnam Veterans

On true Larger Than Life Murals scale, Welcome Home Warriors is a huge public art mural honoring veterans and the fallen of the Vietnam War. Yucca Valley artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover of Larger Than Life Murals were awarded the mural commission after an international call-for-artists by the Manteca Mural Society (MMS), Manteca, CA.

The mother-daughter team recently painted the 16 x 20 foot mural in their Yucca Valley studio, working for the first time on panels of a special fabric-like material called non-woven polyester.


The Painting of Welcome Home Warriors Mural


The Mural Design Phase

Westover took the reins on the original design concept. After months of research and design work, preliminary designs were submitted and reviewed by the mural committee. Public meetings were held to gather community feedback and veteran’s comments. Muralists were narrowed down to 3 finalists, whom then each hand painted a 16″ x 20″ scaled model of their design.

The MMS had a long list of specific content requested by the veterans. The mural includes, an M113 APC (armored personnel carrier), a Chinook and Medevac helicopter, an F-4 Phantom fighter jet, a representation of women in service, although they were not in the field, and a “War Dog” and handler, a bunker, and much more.

What they didn’t want, was something that looked like a collage, or a bunch of individual pictures in boxes. The artists were asked to make the mural look as much as possible like an actual scene from the war.

 

“They didn’t just want us to paint their mural, they wanted us to paint their story.” Linda Shrader

Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the studio. Photo by LTLM.
Progress of panels 2 and 3 of the Welcome Home Warriors Mural in the artist’s studio. Photo by LTLM.

“It was a challenge finding great reference photos for all the content in the necessary angles to work in the composition,” notes Shrader. “We did have to improvise a lot in the design and painting phases to adjust light and shadows to reflect a consistent time of day, and to make everything full color, because so many war photos were shot in black and white or sepia tone.”

While many military photos are available free of charge in the Public Domain, some of the historical photos the artists chose required licensing, which can be quite costly. One image licensed for the mural through Getty Images, the large soldier stepping into the mural, was listed at almost $600.

A Chance Meeting With Tim Page, Iconic Vietnam War Photographer

While researching another photo the artists wanted to use, they thought they had tracked down the original photographer to request a license. The photograph turned out not to be his, but the inquiry had lead them to photojournalist Tim Page, an iconic Vietnam War Photographer, now living in Australia. The photojournalist in ‘Apocalypse Now’, played by Dennis Hopper was based on Page.

Page was happy to help the artists, taking the time to delve into his colossal archive of Vietnam War photos to search for their requests.

“He sent us dozens of images to choose from,” recounts Westover, “Amazing work, all of them. Five of which were perfect to license for the mural. We were very grateful.”

“We also learned through Tim,” adds Shrader, “That so many photographers also died or went missing in Vietnam, and those who returned were never really recognized or welcomed home, just like our military service veterans. I thought it was so apropos that several of Tim’s photos were used for this particular mural.”

For more about Tim Page, visit his website at http://www.timpage.com.au


The Mural Installation

A Seasoned Crew Installs The Mural In One Day

Installer and master muralist, Dave Gordon (pictured below), along with a seasoned all-volunteer crew lead by Ron Cruz, Project Supervisor and Vietnam Combat Veteran, met Shrader for the first time as she delivered the mural to be installed. Beginning at 6:30 AM and finishing just before sunset, the veteran’s mural was installed in one, long day.

Westover arrived a day later, and the artists had a couple of days to perform touch-ups on the mural before Gordon finished the installation phase with protective spray coatings.

The mural transfer, artist Linda Shrader hands over the mural to the installation crew.
L to R, Dave Gordon, Bill Barnhart, Gene Bedard, Linda Shrader, Fred Gallegos, Ron Cruz, Bill Buffington, Jack Dauler, and Roger LaPresle.

The Mural Was Viewed Whole For The First Time

As the lift and protective covering came down, stopping and starting to a loud beep, beep, beep… the mural was viewed whole for the first time. As Shrader stepped back to take it all in, she noticed several of the men from the crew taking photos with their cell phones.

“I got a big kick out of seeing the crew taking photos immediately after they finished,” mused Shrader. “I took it as a sign that they were proud of what we had accomplished.”

Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM
Crew Taking Photos After Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation. Photo by LTLM

Video Slideshow of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

The Vietnam War mural is the fourth mural to be installed as part of a larger mural project which will total $125,000 and 5 murals when completed next year. The veterans and the fallen from World War l, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror will all be represented in the monumental project.


High-Speed Time-Lapse Video of Welcome Home Warriors Mural Installation

Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.
Wall before Welcome Home Warriors mural installation.

Installed on the oldest and largest historical building in town, the murals grace the East-facing wall of Manteca Bedquarters located at the corner of W. Yosemite Ave and S. Main St, Manteca, CA.


The Mural Unveiling and Dedication Ceremony

Distinguished guests and over 500 people, including many veterans and families of the fallen, were in attendance for the May 20th, mural unveiling and dedication. Speakers delivered moving speeches, including some very emotional ones from Vietnam War veterans.

Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony. Photo by LTLM.
Over 500 gathered for the Welcome Home Warriors mural unveiling and dedication ceremony.
Photo by LTLM

“We deeply respect you and thank you for your service. As an artist, this is the best way to show that.” Echo Westover


Video Slideshow of  Welcome Home Warriors Mural Unveiling and Dedication

The video features about 5 minutes of some highlights from the 1.5 hour ceremony. Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President, was a wonderful Master of Ceremonies.


A Special Tribute To The Fallen

 

Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM
Linda Shrader painting names and ages on tribute in Welcome Home Warriors Mural. Photo by LTLM

A portrayal of the Vietnam Memorial Wall with tribute to the 17 fallen men from Manteca and the surrounding communities, is one of the main elements in, and inspiration for the mural. Each man’s name and age is listed, even though ages are not included on the official memorial wall. MMS made this request so that the general public might be more aware of just how young most of these men were when they served their country and paid the ultimate price.

“This is extremely important to me personally. My husband and my brother were together in Vietnam,” recalls Charleen Carroll, MMS Board President. “There were so many young men from here that served, and 17 that passed away. This is a chance to honor them and their service to their country.” Carroll’s brother, 18 year-old Brock Elliot, was the first serviceman from Manteca to give his life.


Help Is Available to Veterans Still Battling…

The Vietnam Veterans went to Washington D.C. and asked for help, and they got it. There are Vet Centers all over the United States.

“Please go. Go right away,” encourages Cruz. “They will welcome you with open arms and I guarantee they will help you. They will help your spouse and immediate family understand why you are the way you are.”

For more information or to locate your nearest Vet Center visit https://www.vetcenter.va.gov


An Original Work

Welcome Home Warriors Mural is an original work commissioned and owned by the Manteca Mural Society, Manteca CA.

Marking the community’s 30th mural adding to the diverse visual narrative of their rich history, more about Manteca murals, visit www.mantecamurals.com.

 

ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors

ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors Murals

ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors Mural

ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors Murals
ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors Murals
ABC10 News Features Welcome Home Warriors Murals
ABC10 KXTV Features Welcome Home Warriors Mural

“Welcome Home Warriors,” a public art mural honoring the veterans and fallen of the Vietnam War, was recently featured on ABC10 KXTV News. The 16′ x 20′ mural, painted by Larger Than Life Murals artists Echo Westover and Linda Shrader, nears completion and will soon be installed in Manteca, CA, as reported by Kurt Rivera.

Designed and painted by Echo Westover and Linda Shrader, “Welcome Home Warriors” is an original work commissioned and owned by the Manteca Mural Society, Manteca, California.

For more information, visit www.mantecamurals.com

Read the full post about the Welcome Home Warriors Vietnam Veterans Mural Project here.

LION PRIDE Mural with LCMS Student Artists and Leaders

Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot.

Click here to read the feature article in the Hi-Desert Star

News Article, Hi-Desert Star newspaper. LION PRIDE Mural featured.
News Article, Hi-Desert Star newspaper. LION PRIDE Mural featured.
An Engaging Mural Project Makes An Imprint

The LION PRIDE Mural project between Larger Than Life Murals and La Contenta Middle School students is sure to make a lasting imprint for years to come. With it’s sheer size, bright colors, and striking design, it’s visible from almost anywhere on the campus, and even from eastbound Yucca Trail.

Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot.
Finished Lion Pride Mural Group Shot. 32′ x 18′, Acrylic on stucco. Photo by L. Shrader

Beyond the visual impact, the overall success and positive experience of the LION PRIDE mural project was made possible because of a community effort. LCMS students and staff, parents, volunteer artist assistants, family, and friends all contributed in one way or another.

The Lion Pride Mural was twice featured in The Hi-Desert Star newspaper which was greatly appreciated. And of course, without the support and approval by the MUSD Board, none of this would have happened.

"Linda

It all began when Jake Possehl, PBIS Director, reached out to Larger Than Life Murals (LTLM). Possehl had the idea of a LION PRIDE mural to help raise school pride to a whole new level, while encouraging student involvement as part of La Contenta’s Positive Behavior Interventions and Support program (PBIS).

LTLM artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover knew this would be a great partnership project. “How many middle school students are greeted by a 15-foot-tall mountain lion stepping out of a wall in the middle of their campus everyday?” Shrader smiles, adding, “They love it, and the more we can strengthen the love + school equation, the better!”

Shrader speaks from experience. The mother daughter team of Shrader and Westover, Artist/Owners of Larger Than Life Murals, has painted over 60 murals in Southern California, and many of them on school campuses.

“The coolest part about public art murals is, they’re one of the most powerful and effective vehicles for delivering a message to students.” L. Shrader

“You can’t help but notice a larger than life mural, so of course it engages everyone on campus.” Shrader explains. “And most of us love wild animals, so that’s a WIN-WIN to start.”

Now factor in the power of hands on experience, and students reached over time… that all sums up to a REALLY powerful tool. Music also adds to the experience, hence, a classical piece was chosen for the soundtrack to the LION PRIDE Mural Time Lapse Video.

Students from LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders Participated

After much planning and preparation, about 20 students from three campus clubs, including LCMS Art Club, Leadership, and PBIS Student Leaders joined forces for the task.

Beginning Saturday morning,  Jan. 28th, the design was laid on the wall using various techniques. Students helped with placing patterns, snap lines, locating coordinates, and making and using a plumb line. Some freehand drawing was added by Westover.

Two scissor-lifts were used under the watchful eye of staff and parents. Far left, Principal Dr. Gruwell. Center photo, PBIS Director Jake Possehl. Photo by Lori Thomas

"Placing

Students Began Painting Sunday

Sunday, Jan. 29th was the big student paint day. About 30 students came and went throughout the weekend. Many participated both days, and some only Saturday or Sunday, as a result of sports and other commitments.

"LION

Shrader and Westover, assisted by volunteer artists, Aaron Hansen and Jose Fierros, continued working on and detailing the mural until finished Tuesday evening.

On Friday, Feb. 3rd, reporter Leah Sanson came out to get some more information about the PBIS program and to take some photos for the Hi-Desert Star newspaper. Participating students gathered to sign their finished mural and pose for a group shot.

Students sign LION PRIDE Mural
Students sign LION PRIDE Mural. Photo by L. Shrader
Larger Than Life Murals High Speed Time Lapse Video

Larger Than Life Murals video taped the LION PRIDE Mural painting process with their high speed time lapse camera.  Beginning with student paint on Sunday, the short video below is 3 days of mural painting and credits in under six minutes.

Click on any photo to open the LION PRIDE Mural Gallery view to see all the photos larger…

For more information about bringing a Larger Than Life Murals project to your school or organization, please contact us using our contact form or call Larger Than Life Murals at 760-413-2116.

These pages might also interest you:

See more Larger Than Life Murals in our Video Gallery

Discover Our Desert Mural at Onaga Elementary School

Paint Night Parties fundraiser events!

Mural Completion, Discover Our Desert

“Discover Our Desert” Mural-In-A-Day

Onaga G.A.T.E. Class With Mural In a Day Design
G.A.T.E. STUDENTS TO PAINT “DISCOVER OUR DESERT” MURAL-IN-A-DAY AT ONAGA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

Under the direction of Larger Than Life Murals, the G.A.T.E. ONES 4th-6th graders at Onaga Elementary School, along with their teacher GATE ONES Site Liaison Heather Possehl, and community volunteers will be painting a “Mural-In-A-Day” on Sat. Apr. 11th, 2015, from 9AM until 5PM on the school campus.

Discover Our Desert, Hand Painted Design
Discover Our Desert, Hand Painted Design by Larger Than Life Murals

The 37′ x 8′ “Discover Our Desert” Mural Project was conceived by Possehl as part of an effort to create an outdoor learning and meeting area on campus, and is a collaboration between Larger Than Life Murals public artists Linda Shrader and Echo Westover and the G.A.T.E. class.

The painting will begin with a black and white shaded drawing, and the students and volunteers will be adding all the color on Saturday. The public is encouraged to stop by, watch the mural come to life, and be a part of the hi-speed time-lapse video that will be filmed through the day.

“When I first started this journey at the end of the 2013-2014 school year, I never imagined it would culminate by working with such dedicated and talented community members.  They are guiding the students down a path of true understanding and helping students learn that they are part of something much bigger than themselves,” says Possehl.  “They eagerly look forward to each session with Larger Than Life Murals artists and cannot wait to see their concept become a reality on April 11th.”

Click on any image to open the slide show

Through A Series Of After-School Meetings

The students have worked with Shrader and Westover co-creating the mural design, and learning about a wide range of good public art practices, including project planning, art design, respecting copyrights, licensing, the importance of using quality paints and protective coatings, and more. In addition, there was discussion about how fundamental academics like language art skills, mathematics, and sciences are applied to real life situations, even as an artist.

“I like to tell the students that I didn’t think academics were very important because I always knew I wanted to be an artist,” notes Shrader, “And then I became a professional artist, and guess what? I discovered that my so much of my daily operation requires academic skills! We take opportunities like this to not only teach and encourage students in their artistic endeavors, but in their academic studies as well.”

Calculating wall area and paint needed, scaling designs, cost analysis, bookkeeping, are just a few of the areas that require and incorporate math skills. Good language arts skills are a must for proposals, contracts, internet marketing, press releases, and communication between the artist and the client or public. Chemical interactions between primers, paints, and coatings, chemical emissions, as well as environmental and other factors are more easily understood with a firm grasp of chemical properties studied in science curriculums.

“I honestly can’t believe that these two amazing artists are willing to help us create something that will change our school forever,” says 6th grade G.A.T.E student Kahlena Alcantar.  “It was very enjoyable meeting them and discussing the rules of painting and planning our artwork together.”

We Need About 15-20 Artist-Assistant Volunteers

As members of the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council, I invite other member artists to “assist” student-artists on paint day, and hope to inspire others to get involved mentoring, teaching, and sharing their areas of interest and expertise with our children in the community.

For members of the MBCAC or other artists in the community who are interested in assisting our student artists on Saturday, April 11th, for all or part of the day, please contact Linda Shrader 760-413-2116 or by email linda@largerthanlifemurals.com. There is a required informational meeting Thursday, April 9th, 6:30 PM, at Onaga Elementary School, Yucca Valley.

Larger Than Life Murals has created many public art murals in the Morongo Basin and beyond, teach paint classes, and are advocates of public art and art in school programs.

Additional Information: Larger Than Life Murals www.largerthanlifemurals.com

Butterfly Mural Exhibition- IWAF 2015

"The Butterly Has Landed" Exhibition Mural, Indian Wells Arts Festival 2015

Butterfly Mural, Featured Exhibition At 13th Annual Indian Wells Arts Festival 2015

 

Screenshot 2015-03-17 20.53.26In keeping with the Indian Wells Arts Festival’s mantra, “Where Art Is Happening,” we were honored to be invited for our fifth year, to be one of many ‘artists in action,’ creating an exhibition mural from start to finish during the 3-day festival.

The butterfly mural titled, “The Butterfly Has Landed,” was designed by Echo, and painted by both of us, April 3-5, 2015. It’s 12′ x 5′ acrylic (on 3 individual- 4′ x 5′ canvases), and we’re looking for a permanent home for it. If you’re interested in owning this mural at a great price, contact us here.

We have to keep the mural fairly simple to complete it in 3 days, because we spend a lot of time, answering questions and sharing information about mural painting. But good design and color are effective in catching the attention of festival goers.

When interested children approach, we often hand them the paint brush to add a few strokes and “help” with the mural, with parents permission of course.

Echo was also honored with a 3rd place ribbon in the acrylic painting category, with the beginnings of her newest series, featuring a stylized look at some iconic Southern California landscapes.

Visit www.indianwellsartsfestival.com For more Festival Experience!

To view more photos, visit our Larger Than Life Mural Gallery

A List of Public Art Resources

At Larger Than Life Murals, we have a zest for learning. Through the years, we have compiled a list of helpful resources which cover a wide range of topics related to public arts and culture, including economic and educational impact.

Click here to view the list: Public Art & Cultural Resources List.
You can also visit our website at www.largerthanlifemurals.com and use the Public Art Resources tab.

There is a wealth of information and opportunity out there. This list is not exhaustive, just a collection of some we’ve found useful. We hope you do also.

If you are a working or aspiring public artist… one of the best things you can do for yourself is educate yourself.

Public arts and culture is a growing industry. And if you want to be a part of it, the more you learn about the industry the better.  You can research and study successful public arts programs, join support organizations, find many educational and working opportunities, grants, residencies, and the list goes on.

Visit some public art spaces in person, and if that’s not possible, visit their websites. Ask yourself, what makes them successful? What appeals to you most? Who is considered the top artists in their disciplines? What would be your best contribution to the public at large?

See what’s out there, not so that you’ll copy someone else’s work or style, but rather be encouraged, inspired, challenged to really dig deep, and bring forth your inner most dreams and aspirations as an artist. Check out our Inspiration page for some very cool public art. Dream big! No limits. If you could create anything… what would it be? (Then do it)

If you’re on a cultural arts council, or want to help start/develop a  public arts program but don’t know where to begin, this is a pretty good place. Again, educate yourself.

The good news is, the real work has been done for you. There are links below to comprehensive studies, compendiums, reports- with real data for the numbers guys- to help you win your case for public art and art in schools, as well as so many other tools and opportunities to help you grow your public arts program.

Please note: Linda Shrader and Echo Westover of Larger Than Life Murals are sharing this information with you to for the benefit of  public art everywhere. We base our opinions on our own personal experiences. Your own experience may vary.