Parkland’s historic Garfield Street is home to the Parkland Mural, an artful depiction of the community’s past, present, and future. The wall itself is painted an optimistic sky-blue. The eight letters of the Mural spell out P-A-R-K-L-A-N-D, each letter celebrating one aspect of Parkland’s diverse community: People, Agriculture, Recreation, Kids, Landscape, Academics, Native peoples and Diversity. Many letters depict images of the area’s rich history, such as the Nisqually people who once occupied the area. Other letters feature Parkland’s present and future, like the word “diversity” rendered in many languages to represent the variety of languages spoken in Parkland. The Mural’s bright colors call to mind the community’s diverse and vibrant people and their history.
The Parkland Mural is the product of months of collaboration amongst Parkland community members. A Pacific Lutheran University student named Saiyare Rafaei designed the artwork in 2014, inspired by public art she found while studying abroad in Oaxaca, Mexico. “The way that they saw art as community, to share with everyone, was so powerful for me,” Rafaei explains. She reached out to the community to see what kind of interest they had for a collaborative art piece, and was thrilled by the community’s enthusiastic response.
Students, schools and youth organizations, the Parkland-Spanaway Rotary and Kiwanis clubs, and the Garfield Street Business Association are just a few of the many groups who collaborated with Rafaei. This collaboration ensured the Mural celebrated the values important to Parkland, like the peaceful coexistence of many groups.
The result: The people of Parkland came together to create art and engage with their community – both as it was, and as they dream it will be. 128 volunteer painters of all ages turned the side of the U.S. Post Office on the corner of C Street and Garfield Street from a plain wall into a brightly-colored, attractive mural. A small plaque to the right of the artwork explains each letter. The Mural stands in the heart of Parkland, easily spotted as a symbol of Parkland’s willingness to work together for a brighter future. It has become an iconic sight on Garfield Street, a reminder of Parkland’s diversity and vibrant community, past and present.
"Parkland Mural." Parklandmural, WordPress, parklandmural.wordpress.com/. Accessed 26 Jan. 2019.
Rafaei, Saiyare. "Parkland Community Mural Project." YouTube, 5 Dec. 2014, www.youtube.com/watch?v=fB8xNugaPsU&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 26 Jan. 2019.
Special thanks to Rachel Haxtema for the images.