Lolo's main community center - its own public school district - has been emblazoned anew with a fresh mural courtesy of an artist, mother and Lolo resident who sweated it out over the summer.

Last school year, Sabrina Bayha heard that Lolo planned to paint its elementary building, the one most visible to the public from U.S. Highway 93, for the new year.

So the commercial artist stepped forward and approached Lolo Superintendent Mike Magone, offering to labor in the hot sun, free of charge, to revive the Lolo School logo with colorful acrylics.

"We had to repaint this upper building and we had an old design that just looked really tired," said Magone. "I thought, ‘You know what? We'll give it a whirl.' "

So in the stifling heat over a two-week period, Bayha stood high on the scaffolding provided by the district and faithfully recreated the school logo with acrylic paint, adding a few flairs of her own.

Magone knew little about the artist, other than that she did a bang-up job painting a new Clinton School District cougar on its gym floor.

"I could have gotten up there and finger-painted for all he knew," said Bayha, who has two children attending Lolo School - a first-grade girl and a fourth-grade boy.

Nobody knows for sure who designed the original logo, which features Bitterroot peaks towering over a lake and a forested hill.

But Bayha did her best to recreate it in blazing blues, crystalline whites and deep purples, applying up to 10 layers of acrylic paint to get the effects she wanted.

"And I had my husband (Steve) stand back and eyeball the thing, because the oval was truly the hardest part," said Bayha.

The oval is, well, perfectly oval - and its shape outlines an iconic image of nature that is well-known to folks in Lolo. Whenever there is a big event in the satellite town, it's Lolo School that is the place to be. The district is the community center, even for non-school-related events.

"To come up the hill and see it is kind of a sense of pride and ownership," said Magone.

Mostly faithful to the original logo, Bayha added a bugling elk and a soaring eagle to honor the maintenance crew who daily erected and dismantled the scaffolding over a blistering two weeks.

She also added a tiny snowboarder on one of the mountains as an artistic nudge to her son Cameron.

Magone said it will be a long time before the logo is painted over - at least under his watch.

The next time the building needs a fresh coat? "We'll paint around it," he said.

And if Bayha is still around and able, she'll scale the scaffolding again.

"When I'm old and feeble, maybe I can get up there again," she said. "Who knows?"

Reporter Jamie Kelly can be reached at 523-5254 or at jkelly@missoulian.com.

 

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