Patriotic mural proposed for Grass Valley’s Memorial Park |

Patriotic mural proposed for Grass Valley’s Memorial Park

Nevada Union senior Autumn Gallagher shows off her initial design for the mural she wants to paint on a pump house inside Memorial Park. The current design eliminates the American Legion seal in the middle.
Photo by Liz Kellar/

To help with the mural

Gallagher would welcome financial assistance or paint donations. You can email her at

Grass Valley soon could get a new mural.

This public work of art — proposed by Nevada Union student Autumn Gallagher as her senior project — would cover one wall of an 1960s-era cement-block pump house in Memorial Park and will feature a patriotic theme.

On Friday, Gallagher and mentor Haven Caravelli — who helped spearhead Justin Lovato’s mural downtown the year before — took the proposal to Grass Valley’s Development Review Committee.

Gallagher is proposing painting an 8-foot by 16-foot mural that uses an American flag as the backdrop for the Armed Forces seals. She has been working on the project since last fall and hopes to complete the project this summer.

Gallagher told the development review committee members she lives behind the pump house.

“I’ve been living with that wall,” she said. “It’s ugly.”

The mural seemed like a great solution because, Gallagher says, she loves to paint.

“I really want to share (that love) with the community,” she said. “I think it will be a fun project.”

Gallagher’s art teacher pointed her to Caravelli, and Gallagher asked her to serve as her mentor.

“I wasn’t expecting it to take this long,” Gallagher said of the now seven-month long project.

“There’s a protocol that has to happen,” counseled Caravelli, a veteran of the process at this point.

Caravelli said murals are a passion of hers and fit in well with the concept of Grass Valley as a Cultural Arts District.

It’s exciting to see such a young artist take on a public project, she said, adding, “It’s sweet to see someone take something on that most people would (just) complain about.”

Caravelli introduced the 18-year-old artist to Senior Planner Lance Lowe, who has been helping to guide her through the process.

Gallagher met with Will Buck of the Nevada City Veterans of Foreign Wars, who made some design revision suggestions and then took it to Nevada County Consolidated Veterans Council for approval.

Her original design featured the American Legion logo, with the seals of the military branches in the wrong order, Gallagher said. Her current design features just the seals for the Marines, Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard. During the hearing on Friday, she was asked to check on whether she should include the Merchant Marine and Health & Human Services.

Gallagher also needs to obtain official approval to use the trademarked seals from the U.S. Department of Defense, Lowe said.

The committee members wanted to hash out some other practical matters, such as power-washing the wall first and applying an anti-graffiti coating — which Caravelli committed to do — and nailing down funding.

“I have been thinking about going door to door in my neighborhood, to see what (people) think,” Gallagher said.

She might also get some help from the VFW, she told the committee, who suggested she make presentations to local Rotary clubs, and request paint donations from local vendors.

The committee members recommended the project go to the Planning Commission on May 15 subject to Gallagher receiving trademark approval and signing a form that essentially gives the city ownership of the artwork. She also needs to provide more details regarding funding, the colors to be used and a sample of what the final design will look like.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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