Murals of Three Rivers, California

Bold and brilliant, the murals of Three Rivers, California, capture the vitality of this small town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, depicting the land and stories of the Yokuts, the Native Americans that once inhabited Sequoia National Park and the surrounding area. What makes these  beautiful murals even more special? They were painted by children.

Six years ago, to keep art in the school's curriculum, the school came up with a new idea called "Visiting Artists Program." Each month, a different local artist donates time to guide 200 children, from Kindergarten through 8th grade, through the process of creating art. The children work with watercolor and oil painting artists, gourd artists and ceramic artists, and their work can be seen on the school grounds.

Artist Nadi Spencer took the program a step further, creating murals throughout town, developing a cultural and historical awareness in the community. She researches the life and stories of the Yokuts tribes of the area and, each year, designs another colorful tale to paint with the students. The unique process she teaches allows every child in the school to paint for 20 minutes on a given section. The youngest artists (kindergarten) paint first, filling in large solid spaces. Each class takes on more difficult tasks, until the 8th graders finish with the fine detail.

Two of these murals are featured in the Mural Trails Map, a guide to more than 80 professional murals throughout Tulare County. "How Crow Became Black" and "How The Sierra Nevada Was Made" are two of these larger-than-life creations. (Click here to read how crow became black and to watch the children painting). With the help of a dedicated handful of parents and friends, and with the support of the community, once a year a new mural brings history to life in full color.

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Latitude: 36.4414384 Longitude: -118.904112 Elevation: 809 ft
the best travel advice comes from the people who live here
Nadi Spencer

Getting Here and Getting Around

The murals are spread out within a mile of each other. Most all of the murals are on the main road, Sierra Drive. Nadi's Studio is a good place to start.

Parking is available at the Village Market, Nadi's Studio, the Kaweah Commonwealth and many other locations.

To find out more about the Visiting Artist Program at Three Rivers Union School, call 559-561-4466.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are welcome.


Our community is blessed to have Nadi! I don't know what is more vibrant and colorful, her paintings or her personality. You have to come to Three Rivers and meet her for yourself. We love her!

Schumachers5, 2/13/2011

You will be missing a real treat if you miss Nadi and her murals. Nadi is part of what makes Three Rivers so special.

Barbara Sandberg, 2/13/2011

You guys are gonna make me cry...

Nadi, 2/13/2011

I haven’t seen the murals, but I know whatever Nadi does she does with all her heart. She is a very special person.

Janet Hudson, 2/13/2011

Love your murals...they are a bright & beautiful addition to our little I admire your generous gift of time & energy inspiring our students, the future artists of 3R.

Kitty Guthrie, 2/14/2011

Nadis’ murals are a beautiful asset to our town of Three Rivers. She has great energy and an ability to help others appreciate their surroundings.

Chris, 3/2/2011

I agree with my neighbors: Nadi is one of the treasures of Three Rivers. I have had the privilege of working alongside her teaching students about mural making and she is truly a master artist.

Shirley Keller, 3/28/2011

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