Submitted by: Dot Bardarson
Its done! Mural art delegates are home from Japan. The mural they painted was a success. Lots of people came to the dedication where children held tethers that were attached to a large sheet covering the mural. On a backwards count of “san, ni, ichi” the tethers were dropped, the sheet slithered down to expose the colorful mural. The audience cheered, “Awesome” “Its so big”. There were speeches by Obihiro Mayor Norihisa Yonezawa and Seward Mayor, David Seaward. The master artist, Justine Pechuzal, was introduced to explain the symbolism of the Alaska moose bringing Chrysanthemums across the ocean to a waiting crane. She christened the mural with water they’d brought from Resurrection Bay.
The Japanese were astonished that it had been finished on time. They didn’t think it was possible to complete from scratch a 32 X 8 foot mural in the space of 13 days that also included ceremonies, parties and sight-seeing. But our art delegates knew. They relied on their experience with the murals in Seward and the 4 years of planning where they had imagined every conceivable obstacle. This mural was painted with help from high school art students in the same way that our murals are painted here in Seward during the Seward Music and Arts Festival. There must have been 60 or 70 of them who helped.
Other art delegates included Kristi Larson, our Head Honcho, Jennifer Headtke, who originated the Seward Mural Society in 1999, Al Lamberson, Bethany Waggoner, Linnea Hollingsworth, and Sheila Morrow. I forfeited my trip to Japan to stay at home with my sweetheart of 59 years whose health at the time was compromised.
There is no question that the bonds of friendship were strengthened by this gift of a mural from the city of Seward to its sister-city, Obihiro, Japan. Strong Friendship will continue, as evidenced by Obihiro’s plan to bring us a mural in 2014.