Hall of Heroes

Longs Peak Middle School
Longmont, Colorado

This community mural project consists of twenty-two 3’ x 7’ acrylic painted panels that line the walls wrapping around the outside of Longs Peak Middle School library, located in the center of the school. The panel topics represent a cross section of famous historical figures from various areas of study. The murals feature portraits of outstanding individuals from diverse backgrounds who overcame many obstacles in their own personal circumstances to make a difference in American society and culture.

Depicted are: Nursing Heroes, National Park Heroes, Native American Heroes, Emancipation Heroes and Women’s Rights Heroes.

The individuals and topics depicted were selected by LPMS instructors, and reflect studies within the Middle school curriculum. The focus of the project was meant to not only be an ongoing teaching tool, but to also expose students to the involved process of creating a professionally executed public art piece. Guest artists and student interns from local colleges also participated; mentoring one on one with middle school students. Individual LPMS instructors also got involved in coaching students throughout the various phases of research etc. Students were directly involved in every phase of the project from research and design to the actual painting. Image files for each panel were created and maintained so they could be referenced for all phases of the design and painting process.

The Hall of Heroes was a major undertaking, much larger than available funds could accommodate. Not to be deterred, team members applied for and wrote multiple grants through the years. Ongoing donations were also made by the local chapter of the American Legion, teachers’ organizations, the school administration, students and their families, local businesses, the school district, individuals in the community, (and by the artist herself). The willingness of two teachers and an artist to undertake a project of this enormity, on a shoestring budget, modeled belief in the project and perhaps a crazy perseverance. Over the 12 years that Susan was actively involved with the project, she worked with 5 different LPMS principals. When the project coordinators retired (Gary Barnett and Bruce Bennett) all 22 panels had been designed but many were not finished (thus, the final goal of finishing the project in a cohesively consistent professional manner was never fully realized in its entirety). Pictured are five of the panels that were completed earlier in the process.

The school has since had some of the more unfinished panels painted over by various students and local artists who were unaware of the original intent, topics and overall design vision. However, despite these visual departures, the Hall of Heroes Mural project is still a great success on many levels, and has become a local landmark. The murals convey the creative and collaborative spirit of a community working together in a process that spanned well over a decade. The mural panels still pay tribute to outstanding role models (including veterans), and address important social topics. The mural subject matter continues to inspire students, school personal and visitors alike, that have walked and now walk the halls of the Longs Peak Middle school.