Truckee students create new mural at Community Arts Center

Local students and Arts For The Schools CEO Eve McEneaney (far right) pose after completing work on a mural at the Community Arts Center.
Justin Scacco /

TRUCKEE, Calif. — A new mural has been created in Truckee, celebrating local history one train boxcar at a time.

For more than a week, local youth have been painting a roughly 120-foot long wall at the Community Arts Center for the new park that’s currently under construction.

The mural features a train with boxcars showing scenes of mountains, flowers, and winter sports.
Justin Scacco /

“When they first showed us the wall, it was so much space,” said Meg Murrell. “We were like, ‘how are we going to get this done?’ And then we started putting on lines and started really filling in the background. It came together really nicely.”

The design features a train with different paintings featuring different aspects of the region on each boxcar. Murrell, who also painted the engine, created a design on her boxcar inspired by the graffiti in the railroad tunnels on Donner Pass.

“I paint a lot. I do a lot of landscape painting, but I’ve never done anything this size, and I was like, ‘Hey this thing’s going to be here for a longtime, I might as well be part of it,’” said Murrell.

“My whole idea was to mix graffiti and nature ‘cause we have a big graffiti scene up by the train tunnels.”

Local students spent more than a week creating a mural at the Community Arts Center.
Justin Scacco /

Arts For The Schools organized the project, bringing in retired high school art teachers to help guide the middle and high school students in creating the mural. The nonprofit has been working in the area for 39 years, said CEO Eve McEneaney. Arts For The Schools promotes art, music, theater, and dance. The organization also has school programs, in which they hire artists from all over the world to come and work with students.

Arts For the Schools’ Mural Project aims to create art on concrete walls in front of businesses and other locations throughout the North Lake Tahoe and Truckee communities. Artwork will be focused around three themes: environmental stewardship, local history, and cultural heritage.

We’re hoping those are broad enough for an artist, that it could be their cultural heritage, it could be personal to them, it could be out the region, or the town they’re painting in,” said McEneaney.

The first project wrapped up Wednesday at the Community Arts Center. Roughly 20 kids came out to participate in painting the mural.

“The kids had a great time,” said Molly Moore, teaching artist for Arts For The Schools. “It’s amazing what happens when they get excited about something.”
Justin Scacco /

Adeline McEneaney said it was her first time painting a mural and chose to create a scene featuring Donner Summit Bridge on her boxcar.

“I used to ski up there all the time and I go hiking up there a lot, so I decided to paint that on my boxcar,” she said. “We had a lot of creative control and it’s awesome the town and rec center let us participate in this.”

Other boxcars show scenes of mountains, flowers, and winter sports.

“Art creates an experience for everybody,” said Molly Moore, teaching artist for Arts For The Schools.

Moore has more than 20 years of teaching experience, including time teaching art at Truckee High School.

“The kids had a great time,” she added. “It’s amazing what happens when they get excited about something.”

The project was made possible by the Contractors Association of Truckee Tahoe, the Queen of Hearts Foundation, Mark Tanner Construction, Tahoe Mountain Resort Foundation, and the Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District.

McEneaney said there are plans for six more murals in Kings Beach next year, and another project along the bike path in Tahoe City where the roadway goes over the Truckee River.

“I hope they keep doing more mural projects out here,” concluded Murrell. “I had a lot of fun working on it, and I think it really well for just a bunch of high schoolers and middle schoolers that, some of has have never even touched paintbrush before.”

For more information on upcoming projects, visit

Arts For The Schools’ Mural Project finished its first mural on Wednesday.
Justin Scacco /

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