"Celebrating the Sierra" is a 9x14 foot natural history mural comprised of over 400 ceramic tiles in relief, featuring the flora and fauna of the Eastern Sierra. This cultural point of interest is expected to be installed in spring of 2010 on the outside east wall of Bishop Library, within easy walking distance of local businesses and schools. The project highlights a broad array of plants and animals found between the Owens Valley floor and the highest peaks of the Sierra Nevada range. Each tile is hand cut, sculpted and painted by one of over 100 student artists. Interspersed with the square tiles are waterways of mosaic.
The mural’s composition is structured around the range of elevations forming the "Deepest Valley," where the Sierra Nevada, Great Basin and Mojave Desert bioregions converge. Notable species such as the Ancient Bristlecone Pine trees in the White Mountains are also included. A key providing information about the tiles is in progress and will be available to viewers online and in booklet form. This “library of life” will fascinate even the casual viewer to explore and discover the plants, animals and birds dwelling in or migrating through the Eastern Sierra.
"Celebrating the Sierra" was conceived to provide a creative, interactive, engaging and educational activity to local community members. It is dedicated to the volunteer members of Inyo County Search and Rescue, established in 1942 in the Eastern Sierra. Partners in the effort include Inyo Council for the Arts and Cerro Coso Community College. Guided by art professor Patricia Holton, a team of student volunteers at Cerro Coso Community College produced about two thirds of the tiles. A series of workshops funded through grants by the California Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts gave students in area schools and sites the tools needed to create the remaining tiles. The end result is a visually exciting, permanent display featuring the wonderful variety of species in the area. We encourage you to further explore and discover these natural treasures!