Vale seniors set to honor the past with decorative mural

Vale Senior Center members Irene Christ, Joanne Roner, and Frances Rempel along with Frank Yraguen, a member of the Vale Heritage Reflections Mural Society, display a quilt hand-crafted more than 40 years ago. The quilt will be the centerpiece of a new mural planned for the outside of the Vale Senior Center. (The Enterprise/Pat Caldwell)

VALE – A mural honoring a group of volunteers who hand-crafted quilts will soon be splashed across a section of the east side wall of the Vale Senior Center.

The central subject of the mural will be a quilt created by founding members of the senior center in the 1970s.

Senior volunteers united then to make the quilts as part of a fund-raising effort.

A mural dedicated to the hard work of the volunteers has been in the works since the senior center was built, said Frances Rempel.

Remple, a long-time Vale resident, was the chairperson of the senior center committee that worked to find funding for the mural.

“We felt the timing was right,” said Rempel.

Remple linked up with local resident Frank Yraguen, who is a member of the Vale Heritage Reflections Mural Society, to find out what steps her committee needed to accomplish to get the mural painted.

“The first thing to go through was a grant,” said Rempel.

Rempel then wrote a grant and submitted it to the Wood Family Charitable Trust, an organization that specifically serves Vale and its surrounding communities.

“In their trust, it has to be things connected to Vale. I thought, well, you know what, we might just be able to do this,” said Rempel.

Rempel was right. The trust awarded a $10,000 grant for the mural.

The next step was to find an artist. Rempel said the group contacted Colleen Mitchell-Veyna, a California mural artist, to do the mural.

Most of the quilts made back in the 1970s are unavailable – either gone or still in a closet or across a bed somewhere – but Rempel was able to find one in Vale.

That quilt is in the possession of a local woman, said Rempel, and an image of it will be used as the centerpiece of the mural.

Rempel said Mitchell-Veyna will produce an oil painting of the mural first. Rempel said the committee already has a rough idea of what the mural will depict.

“We have pictures of the ladies that did all the work on the quilt. They will be sitting around a table, working on this particular quilt. The border of the mural will be quilt boxes from around the world,” said Rempel.

Mitchell-Veyna said the initial design for the mural is nearing completion.

Mitchell-Veyna is no stranger to Vale. The Tulare, Calif., resident produced several murals that adorn buildings in town. Mitchell-Veyna said she is producing the senior center mural differently than other art.

“They wanted it painted at such a small scale, two feet by four feet. They are going to have it professionally photographed and then they will have it digitally enlarged to fit on a 10-foot-by- 20-foot wall. So, this particular picture is quite complicated,” said Mitchell-Veyna.

Mitchell-Veyna said the mural is also difficult because of the measure of detail needed.

“I have to make all the little squares (of the quilt) at the right perspective and how many people are sitting there, so it takes a while,” said Mitchell-Venya.

“I am pretty far into it,” said Mitchell-Veyna.

Rempel said the mural will be a great way to honor the senior quilters.

“There will be nothing else like it here,” said Rempel.

Rempel said from 1972 to 1983 the senior quilters produced nearly 800 quilts.

“That’s how they paid for their original building,” said Rempel.

Rempel said the seniors hope to install the mural by late fall.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at 541-235-1003 or at [email protected]

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