Fourth and fifth graders at Alsea Elementary created this mural. (Photo provided by Sara Cash)

Fourth and fifth graders at Alsea Elementary recently learned mural making from a real pro, who happens to also be the instructional assistant for Renee Mason’s fifth-grade class. David Lynch has extensive background as artist-in-residence at public schools in Pennsylvania and also doing large-scale public installations in central Pennsylvania.

Alsea School District is delighted to have “Mr. David” — known in Philomath for the 2022 New Year’s Eve kinetic sculpture mushroom drop in partnership with Maxitivity Arts & Crafts Creative Space- — available to do these kinds of projects with students.

Miss Mason’s fifth and Miss Eleanor Jones’s fourth graders worked with Mr. Lynch on the project from visioning to project completion. Students generated ideas about what they think learning means at Alsea Elementary in both words and images that were included in the mural design by Mr. Lynch.

The young artists, whose first names were included in the design for posterity, also spent time working individually with “Mr. David” to do the painting after he did the outline for the mural.

The theme for the mural is “What Does It Mean to be an Alsea Student?” The student-generated concepts of “creative,” “thinkers,” “readers,” “brave” and “leaders” were incorporated into the design along with imagery sketched by students. The project took about six weeks from start to finish with supplies totaling about $200.

David Lynch said he is seeking artist-in-residence opportunities at schools in and around Benton County, the Central Willamette Valley and the Oregon Coast.

(Sara Cash is the public information officer for the Alsea School District. She can be reached at

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