Art teacher Noel Newquist used a space theme for Columbia's mural. (CONTRIBUTED)
Art teacher Noel Newquist used a space theme for Columbia's mural. (CONTRIBUTED)

Archived Story

Newquist’s mural mission-ready for Columbia ASTROS lobby

Published 1:00pm Wednesday, July 3, 2013

MADISON – Walking into Columbia Elementary School’s lobby, everyone can admire art teacher Noel Newquist’s new mural for the ASTROS home base … and maybe be a bit inspired.

Called ‘Mr. New’ by students, Newquist agreed to the project at principal Mark McCrory’s request. “I was looking for artsy things to do this summer,” Newquist said.

Fittingly, the design “both literally and figuratively shows a rocket with the school mascot, ASTROS (Always Striving To Reach Our Stars). The Space Shuttle Columbia disaster was so heartfelt by the American people that we absolutely refused to let it be in vain,” Newquist said.

Newquist top-coated latex paints with two layers of varnish. Brushes ranged from a few millimeters to eight inches wide. He started with a hand-drawn scale model on graph paper and then freehanded in pencil on the wall. He only stenciled circular stars and lettering.

Requiring two weeks’ work, the simple, open design features Earth, a launching rocket, stars, the moon and Mars. “The rocket points toward Mars. That’s the current space goal,” he said.

Newquist believes Columbia students will like the “brighter, more inviting and visually stimulating” look at the school, including new colors in downstairs hallways. With the mural’s space theme, he hopes “students are inspired to achieve things never done before and send humanity on its next great adventure.”

Since starting to teach in 2008, Newquist has had scant time to pursue his own art projects, so the mural was “a very exciting opportunity.” He hopes to paint more murals, possibly for other schools, churches and libraries.

For fall semester, he will teach at Heritage, Rainbow and Mill Creek elementary schools and switch to Madison Elementary School for spring semester.

His wife Laura works as a stay-at-home mom with their son Scott, who’s almost three. Laura Newquist also is starting an at-home business to create old-fashioned, handcrafted toys, like hobby-horses and stuffed animals.

Editor's Picks