The town of Petal got a little brighter with a new mural showcasing the relationship between the Petal Fire Department, Petal School District and the community.
The mural, which is located on the side of Fire Station # 3 on Mississippi 42, is the work of Brooke Bowden, an art teacher at Petal Upper Elementary School. The project, which is expected to be completed shortly after Thanksgiving, highlights several elements from each of the three aforementioned entities.
“I’m super excited about this project,” Bowden said. “I love the idea of connecting our community and our schools through art. ”
The mural features the words “Home of the Petal Panthers”, with “Petal” prominently displayed in the middle. Within each of the five letters of “Petal,” various designs can be found including a fire hydrant, the Petal Panther mascot, a fire engine, and fans cheering for a sporting event.
“I wanted to do community spirit, so I didn’t want to do specific sports, because that’s the only thing I love about Petal is that there are so many things people are doing. are involved, ”Bowden said. “I wanted to show the city the cheers in general, so the first letters I wrote were the ‘Panthers’.
“When I was doing the ‘Petal’ part, the hydrants right in front of the station – and the flagpole is right behind – I knew I wanted to incorporate the fire station, so that was the fire truck and everything. that. Then I knew I wanted to be the panther, because he’s a bit like the resort’s mascot.
For the final part of the mural, Bowden expects to paint a silhouette of kindergarten and elementary school students pointing fingers at a graduate from the Petal School District.
“I want to show that we’re not just arts and sports, but we’re academics too,” Bowden said. “The community supports that as well, and that’s what makes us one Petal community.
“So that’s my idea. I have the elevator until Thanksgiving, and so I’m trying to finish – I have to do some touch-ups and finish the highlights and all the extra stuff, so hopefully that’ll be done maybe even before Thanksgiving. ”
The mural is from the Petal Fire Department, where firefighter Will Lewis pitched the idea to Fire Chief Joe Hendry. From there, Hendry broached the concept with Matt Dillon, the Superintendent of the Petal School District, to make the idea a reality.
“I liked it, so I told Dr. Dillon about it, and he was really excited about it,” Hendry said. “It looks great, and I think it’s a good marriage between the community, the city and the school district.
“We’re going to have to turn on some lights, and unfortunately we’re probably going to have to set up cameras so no one disfigures him.”
The land where Station 3 is located, adjacent to Petal High School, was donated by the school district.Last month, the Petal Fire Department began displaying the district’s panther mascot on Engine 3.
“It was really a tribute to the school district and our support for the school,” said Hendry. “It kind of started after Hattiesburg got a USM pumper (truck) – it’s black and gold.
“(School officials) were talking about it last year, and I said” well, we can put the panther on the engine 3. good story about the school and the community.
Dillon said the district has an excellent working relationship with the department and appreciates their continued support.
“I think it’s just about who we are as Petal,” he said. “When you have an organization like the fire department, with Chief Hendry, to want to showcase the school and the city as a whole, to represent the fire department, it just shows that we are all Petals. Panthers.
“I think it’s pretty special that I can see that depicted on that wall right there on Hwy 42 in such an important place. Plus, we’re a district that believes in academics, the arts and athletics, and it’s a beautiful work of art that Brooke – one of our own very talented artists – was able to achieve in such a short time. time. ”