By RHEA-FRANCES TETLEY
Several Running Springs residents got together recently after some talk on Facebook and wanted to do something to welcome visitors to town and improve its appearance. After more discussion, they made a plan to create a mural. They got approval from the Running Springs Area Chamber of Commerce to spruce up the community and approval of the giant post card design.
The group wanted to welcome visitors this winter and decided a new mural would be an excellent start. They chose the wall of the old library building, now vacant, which is on the main drag through town and only a half block from their welcome sign, history corner and totem pole.
The chamber approved a friendly design and commissioned longtime Arrowbear resident Sabro Foster to create the mural. The design is original, but in the classic 1950s “greetings” post card style, welcoming visitors to Running Springs.
Foster began last weekend, using ladders to reach the heights of the two-story tall wall. The biggest initial problem was the instability of the soft and dry dirt slope Foster had to paint above, but he soon solved that using some boards below the ladder to create a sturdy base. As he finishes the mural in a couple of days, as weather permits, he will be able to use scaffolding loaned by Rustique, which will cut down on the danger and speed up the completion of the mural.
Using spray paints, Foster was able to paint the uneven surface of the brick wall with a full color first coat of the mural. He has spent 10 hours painting on the mural so far.
Foster has left the interior of the lettering on the words “Running Springs” white so that some businesses in town may get involved and have their business included in the mural, as the classic post cards would spotlight the tourist and historical attractions of each town.
“I have about four more hours to finish and detail the mural until we decide what pictures to add within the large white letters,” said Foster. He also hopes to also add more smaller murals and paintings around the town, to add another punch of color and interest to the business district. He sees several other walls that would look great with a mural.
Last weekend’s snow put a delay on the completion of the mural, but it still should be finished within a week. If you have a business you’d like to have featured in the mural, contact the Running Springs chamber office and leave a message or contact a chamber board member.
One of the ideas that has been suggested is adding paintings of raccoons all over town and then have contests such as find “this raccoon” and photograph yourself next to it and receive a prize; this could be done by the Internet or through the newspaper. Or maybe a contest to count the number of raccoon paintings in town.
“It could be a summer of fun contests with the raccoons,” added Foster. The raccoon is also the mascot of Charles Hoffman Elementary School, which should encourage kids to enter the contests.
Foster is a schoolteacher who is currently teaching by Zoom from the mountains to his students down the hill. He hopes his teaching is being communicated through the screen. It is difficult for the teachers and for the students, but he hopes with his years of experience that his students are learning and feeling like they are succeeding.
Running Springs residents and the chamber of commerce proudly invite residents of all other mountain communities to come see their new mural on Hilltop Boulevard, across the street from the Golden Oaks Thrift Store. They hope this winter’s snow visitors enjoy it.