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High-school student spends spring break restoring mural

Posted: April 12, 2008 2:19 a.m.
Updated: June 13, 2008 5:03 a.m.

Members of the Santa Clarita Artists Association work Friday on restoring the Bicentennial mural.

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A Saugus High School freshman spent part of her spring break helping to restore a 30-year-old patriotic mural at Friendly Valley to its previous splendor.

Shannon Hoofman, 15, found out about the project from her grandmother who lives at Friendly Valley and is a member of the golf club. The mural is located at the end of the golf course parking lot at the Newhall senior community.

"She knows I like art, and she thought I might be interested in the project," Shannon said. "I was excited and honored to be able to do it."

The mural was originally painted in honor of the nation's bicentennial in 1976, and is based on the "Spirit of '76," a painting by Archibald M. Willard that shows two drummers and a fife player with a bandaged head marching side by side with the U.S. flag waving in the background.

"It was all really faded, so we've basically been painting over everything, adding some color and some detail," Shannon said.

Shannon had help with the project from Santa Clarita Artists' Association members Patti Cook and Sharon Bradley. Cook and Bradley have friends who live at Friendly Valley and wanted to help make the community more beautiful for them.

"When Shannon - a 15-year-old girl - volunteered her spring break to do this, I decided I should help her," Cook said.

The trio had their work cut out for them after they discovered the wall the mural was painted on to be incredibly porous and difficult on which to paint.

"It's like painting on a popcorn ceiling. It's very porous and difficult," Bradley said.

"We had to use lots of paint and we used sponges to get into the holes," Shannon added. "It's tedious work, but I enjoy it."

Dean Martin, a resident of Friendly Valley for 20 years, came by to inspect the work in progress and said the mural has never looked better.

"It looks beautiful. It had really faded out - the red stripes were gray," Martin said. "It's absolutely miraculous."

Martin said the residents of Friendly Valley are very grateful to Shannon and the other artists for enduring the heat and wind all week while they restored the mural.

"We have so much gratitude toward the Santa Clarita Artists' Association and to Shannon for doing this," Martin said. "It was very considerate of Shannon to do this on her spring break."

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