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Newquist’s murals brighten building, encourage students at Heritage

For the lobby mural, art teacher Noel Newquist painted the Heritage Ram mascot with geometric lines. (CONTRIBUTED)
For the lobby mural, art teacher Noel Newquist painted the Heritage Ram mascot with geometric lines. (CONTRIBUTED)
This section of Noel Newquist's stairway mural depicts a boy with a beaker and first-place ribbon and a girl with a chess piece. (CONTRIBUTED)
This section of Noel Newquist’s stairway mural depicts a boy with a beaker and first-place ribbon and a girl with a chess piece. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Noel Newquist hopes each student returning to Heritage Elementary School will react positively and feel connected when they see two murals that he has painted.

Heritage Principal Dr. Georgina Nelson “requested something bright, inviting and exciting” for the lobby. His “abstract image juxtaposes several organic (curved) elements against geometric (straight-line) wall shapes,” Newquist said.

This school year, Newquist will teach visual art at Heritage, Mill Creek and Rainbow elementary schools.

Newquist painted Heritage’s mascot, the ram, with geometric lines. He incorporated variants of school colors, blue and yellow, as the scheme’s backbone.

For the main stairway, Nelson wanted an encouragement for learning. “The overall design is cartoonish … with two children, two fluffy rams and two songbirds,” Newquist said.

Flowers on a hill create a “learning garden” with math symbols, letters and numbers. A boy holds a bubbling beaker and first-place ribbon. A girl has a chess piece.

The stairway mural quotes auto racer Bobby Unser: “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet.” Newquist said schooling prepares students for lifelong opportunities, while he seized the challenge to paint the murals.

The first topcoat is an acrylic, soft-gel isolation coat, topped with a polymer varnish that protects against UV light. Newquist transferred to-scale sketches by grid-enlarging. He drew most details freehand.

Every individual sees works of art differently, he said. Newquist said some students will see the mural as “a pretty picture”; others will find meaning in individual elements.

A commissioned artist and teacher, Newquist is interested in working for schools and churches because of their impact on the community’s future. “Success of any community is directly related to its children’s intellectual and spiritual growth.”

He and wife Laura co-own Newquii Studios. She specializes in watercolor renderings of family portraits and cloth-covered baby photo albums. His specialties are murals and graphic design. For information, call 256-542-1243 or email to ncnstudio@gmail.com.

The Newquists sons are three-year-old Scott and four-month-old John.

An anonymous donor funded both murals. To discuss donations for additional murals, call Nelson at 256-772-2075.

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