By T. Rasmussen

Thursday, August 15th Marbella and the BEST After School Program celebrated the completion of their tiled mural that is proudly displayed for the whole community to enjoy. Sandy Mockwitz owner and operator of Marbella has been working with the BEST program painting pottery for several years. In 2016 she thought it would be a great idea to have the kids work on a community project, “I wanted it to be a community project that could help beautify the community,” stated Mockwitz. She approached the mayor with the idea and was given the green light to move forward with the project.



 In the spring of 2016 students in the BEST program from 2nd through 8th grades began painting tiles. In 2017 new students to the BEST program were given the opportunity to paint tiles for the project. To cover the cost for materials to place the mural on the wall the group sold tiles to go on the mural to pay for things such as thin set and grout. Community members and local businesses were able to paint these tiles to go in the mural and be part of the project. While tiles were being made locations were being searched out. Several locations were discussed, but finding the perfect spot where the project would be seen prove to be more difficult than anticipated. With tiles finished and a place not agreed on, it was decided to place the mural on the east facing wall of Marbella where those traveling on State Street would have a great view of the mural. Installation of the mural began in 2018 and the last tile was placed July 26th of this year. Grouting was finished last week and the project was complete.

The mural has over 900 tiles in it and bost the saying “Bloom Where You Are Planted”, a saying in which Mockwitz felt fit some of the life circumstances of students in the BEST program and members in our community, “A lot of people are not in the best circumstances, but that shouldn't hold them back. Just bloom where you are planted. They can do that. I want to encourage them to do that”. Mockwitz shared that there is a lot of symbolism within the mural but stated, “I now that as each person who looks at it will interpret it as they see it. It’s subjective, but as I built it there were reasons why I made it like I did.” One of the ways she feels the mural is symbolic is by its different tiles, “All the tiles are individual to build the mural just like each individual person comes together to build our community”. Mockwitz says there is meaning behind the butterflies, mirrors and the sunflower.  A little fun fact is that there are four small round kitty cats hidden within the mural that were painted by Liz Mowery. 

Many hearts and hands played a part in the building of this mural. Mockwitz herself spent over 400 hours on the project. During the installation process Mockwitz would get up in the early hours of the morning to get tiles up before the sun made the wall too hot, “I did have help once in awhile and I was very grateful for it”. Mockwitz doesn’t have an exact number on how many people were involved in the making and building of the mural project, but she did want to thank all who had a part in the mural from beginning to end including: Renee Sweet, Kasey Sweet, Timbra Long, Lori Mooney, Jan Mullins, Mark Pritchard, Jason Hickey, Beta Sigma Phi, BEST program teacher, Volunteers and students, Sunny King, Diane Henigan, Shawna Pierson, Liz Mowery, Cheri Clausen, Meg Overgaard, Will Overgaard and MTE Communications.

 Mockwitz shared, “I am so grateful and blessed to live in such a supportive town. Everyone is so positive, gracouse and helpful. I have had so many people tell me wonderful things and it’s fabulous, it makes me happy. The mural makes me happy. I go out and look at it and I get all teared up when I look at those kids tiles. Some of them painted their whole family on there. I enjoyed this project so much. It was a really great and fun project. I hope people like it. I hope it inspires them.”


Pictured below:

Left: Sandy Mockwitz

Right: Meg Overgaard, Renee Sweet BEST Director, Sandy Mockwitz & Timbra Long BEST Director




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