In a former life I was an arts writer for a mid-sized daily newspaper, and I always had a fondness for large-scale outdoor murals. Maybe it is because one doesn’t need a museum membership or fat wallet in order to view and appreciate an amazing artistic undertaking. Now, as a full-time RVer I have little space to display any personal art collection.
So, whenever possible, we seek out smaller communities across America that are enhancing their downtowns with huge public murals. Cottage Grove, just south of Eugene in western Oregon, (off I-5) is one such community. With a population of around 10,000, it is home to 20 murals that tell the town’s stories and “colorfully illustrate” the community’s character.
One of Cottage Grove’s most celebrated murals depicts “former resident Opal Whiteley, a child prodigy who achieved a remarkable blending of science and faith in her compositions. With the beautiful backdrop of the Northwest, Opal stands surrounded by butterflies, trees, and a historic covered bridge,” according to EugeneCascadesCoast.org.
Chick here for addition pictures and more information on murals and covered bridges in Cottage Grove, Ore., in an article I posted on RV Short Stops.
— Text and photos: Julianne G. Crane
Photos: (Top) ‘Buster Keaton’ Mural (Howard Tharpe, 2002) in Cottage Grove’s Historic District. (Bottom) Opal Whiteley Mural (Connie Huston and Howard Tharpe, 2001).