The group of Estacada painters is embarking on a restoration of their previous project 'Celebration 98.'

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - For their 2021 project, Artback artists will refresh the mural "Celebration 98," located on the wall of Harmony at 221 N.W. Wade St.

Though it was a switch from their initial plan for 2021, members of the Estacada Artback are well underway on the restoration of their "Celebration 98" mural.

The group initially planned to paint "Que Tus Suenos Te Llevan a la Vida Que Te Haga Feliz / Let Your Dreams Guide You to a Happy Life," a mural celebrating the local Latino community, for their project this year. After many community interviews, a painting celebration with activities for children and families initially was planned; however, the rising delta variant of the COVID-19 pandemic caused the project to be rescheduled to next summer.

This year's project does not have the same community element as the previous plan, and artists plan to wear masks while working.

The restoration of "Celebration 98," located on the wall of Harmony at 221 S.W. Wade St., initially was planned for next summer.

Originally designed by lead artist Kolieha Bush in 1998, the mural depicts people dancing through plants and foliage that are native to the area during springtime. One of Bush's favorite elements of the mural is its peace pole, which was modeled on one that was previously outside of Estacada City Hall.

"I wanted to do something to reflect where I lived," Bush said, adding that she's been a resident of Eagle Creek since 1977. "I wanted to do something fun, uplifting and a little bit wild. I tried to think of beautiful, happy things."

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Kolieha Bush, lead artist for "Celebration 98" measures new panels for the mural's restoration.

Bush also was happy to create a mural on the wall of Harmony Bakery, which is a favorite spot of hers.

"I really love Linda (Lawrence) and Sandy (Walker)," she said, discussing the original owners of the bakery that opened on Wade Street in 1984. "They're so nice, and cool to kids. My youngest son teethed on bagels there."

Bush added that she appreciates the work that Harmony's new owners — Lawrence's niece Jenny Beudoin and her husband Corey — have done since purchasing the bakery in 2019.

"Jenny and Corey are awesome. They've stepped right into Linda and Sandy's shoes," she said.

Rather than repainting the entire mural, certain sections will be refreshed.

"We're going to keep parts of it a little mellower," she said. "The backgrounds with the ferns looks cool the way they are, so we're not going to repaint all of them."

She's excited to update some elements of the mural, such as a section that said "Yahoo!"

"We did that before the search engine became popular," Bush said, noting that that section would be replaced with handprints of the artists working to update the design.

Other elements have been difficult to part with, such as a panel with handprints from the project's original artists, including her late husband, Joe Cotter. The panel had to be removed because of wear and tear it had received over the years.

"Celebration 98" was painted by the original members of Artback. Though Bush is the only founding Artback member still with the group, she is happy to work with the new artists the cooperative has acquired.

"I really appreciate them," she said.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.