“I literally had a dream.”
That’s how Kristy Lindvall, a longtime volunteer at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility, said she came up with the idea for a mural that was recently completed on one of the walls in the facility’s gymnasium.
“As you come in the visitor entrance and come into the (Oak Creek) courtyard, I was struck that this is their (the youths’) outside space, that they just look at these four walls,” Lindvall said. “It was on my heart that all of them can see that Oregon is so much more than that. … Oregon is such a beautiful place to live … so how do I bring it to them.”
Lindvall connected with Erica Greminger, a Corvallis artist who painted a mural last spring in the facility’s treatment center.
The two presented to Oak Creek leadership the concept for “The Wall of Majesty,” which has now materialized as a 10-by-60-foot panorama of Oregon on the gymnasium wall.
The mural has panels dedicated to the Oregon Coast, Drift Creek Falls, Mount Hood with tulip fields below, the Cascades, Smith Rock, and the Painted Hills.
“I love the idea,” said Angie Weitman, group life activities coordinator at the facility. “I think it’s great because it represents all our girls who are from all around the state.”
The project was nearly a year in the making, as the supplies and artist’s time turned out to be close to $8,600. But Lindvall wasn’t deterred.
“She donated a good portion herself,” Weitman said. “From our perspective, it’s been all her.”
Lindvall reached out to artists’ guilds in the area and set up an account at OSU Credit Union for public donations. But the bulk of the funding came from members of her church, Valley Christian Center in Albany.
“Our church has a good relationship here,” she said. “A lot of people there have good hearts.”
The church adopted one of the living units at Oak Creek years ago, and to this day provides socials and special events for those youth.
Lindvall first got involved through that, but more recently branched out and served as a mentor to a handful of youth at the facility. She visits about once a week.
But this was her first foray into anything art-related, apart from a 4-H mural project she once participated in as a parent volunteer.
“This is a world of difference from that,” she said. “It’s been really educational for me.”
Lindvall picked up a brush and helped paint the majestic wall, along with five Oak Creek youth who were handpicked by leadership staff.
“I think it’s really cool,” Ellen F. said. “Obviously we’re not happy to be in here, but it’s little things like this that make it better.”
Four of the girls have said they’ve helped with murals before — Ellen when she was at a county detention center and the other three at other parts of Oak Creek.
But Amber O. said this was her first time working on anything like this.
“I’ve taken an art class, that’s about it,” she said with a laugh. “This is something I’ve never done before and I thought it would be a great new experience.”
Amber said she really appreciates the beauty of the mural.
“I like the colors: They’re not too bright or dull, and they line up with each other without being too much,” she said. “I feel like each time you look at it, you find something new, and that’s pretty cool.”
The helpers painted the overall base areas of the mural, and Greminger followed with more details, like a Roosevelt elk and tulips.
Lindvall hopes the mural inspires the facility’s youth.
“Oregon is a majestic place, but God’s greatest treasure is his people — the girls,” she said. “It’s something to remind them that they live in a great place and they have a place in it.”