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Mural finished at state museum

ANNE GROGAN, Sierra Sun

A new mural designed and painted by local artist Susie Georgeson entirely covers the east wall in the Emigrant Trail Museum at Donner Memorial State Park.

“I’m honored to be here as a local artist,” Georgeson said. “But I’m especially honored to be here as a member of the community. I’ve got a whole new appreciation for the area and its history and how informed the staff at the museum is. They’re really into it. Everybody local should come here.”

The new mural depicts a view of Donner Lake and surrounding areas as seen from the summit, in what is thought to be the exact spot where the Donner Party turned around after failing to reach the summit.

“This is history,” Georgeson said. “It needed to be geographically correct.”

Georgeson said that the staff at the museum provided her with the background information and photos she needed to accurately depict the geography of the area. They also primed the east wall to prepare its surface for painting.

“This is a combined effort,” Georgeson said. “It’s my artwork, but I got all my information from the people here.”

Georgeson said she worked on the acrylic and latex mural for two weeks. Except for some finishing touches, the project is complete.

“Most of my work is residential,” Georgeson said. “I do tile murals, paintings and murals like this one. I love doing the big things. I think it’s because when things are right, it’s a life-size success. When things are wrong, it’s a life-size mistake.”

Georgeson said she was selected by project coordinator Bill Lindemann after he saw a mural she painted for the sidewalk project in Tahoe City and a fish mural she painted in Kings Beach.

Lindemann said the mural project was funded by the Sierra State Parks Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to understanding and interpreting the natural and cultural resources of the Sierras.

Georgeson has been striving for a realistic interpretation of the area’s natural resources in her mural. She said she received instruction from the museum staff on how pine cones grow in groups of three and five and she decided to repaint portions of the trees to make the pine needles less impressionistic.

Georgeson’s mural can be viewed at the Emigrant Trail Museum between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.


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