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Soaring high over mural success

A boy flying high on the back of an eagle over mountains is the iconic image which will be greeting students at Liberty Ridge Elementary School this fall.

The mural, created by Woodbury High School senior Josh Hedstrom, has pride of place in the entranceway to the school, hanging above a doorway.

Hedstrom handed over the finished mural, which he says took him six months to paint, shortly before graduation this summer.

Liberty Ridge students voted for his design after 10 students in Hedstrom's advanced drawing class submitted sketches at the request of the school's student council, which wanted to commission a mural.

The elementary kids picked Hedstrom's design, which he was then asked to turn into a mural on a giant canvas purchased by the school.

"I have a feeling that it was the kid riding on the eagle that they liked," explained Hedstrom.

"It's fantasy-oriented, and I think that triggered their attention mostly."

He was originally supposed to complete the work last summer, but was forced to put the mural on hold after he broke his back in a trampolining accident.

Bed-ridden for months, it was only this year that Hedstrom finally got to finish his commission.

Now it's hanging, Hedstrom can look to the future.

He's due to start at Inver Hills Community College this fall, to do his generals, and hopes to transfer to an art school after a couple of years.

Ultimately, his aim is to work in animation --putting to good use the art skills he has picked up at Woodbury High School.

Contemplating that his work will be seen by hundreds, possibly even thousands of elementary students over the coming years at Liberty Ridge, Hedstrom added, "It's pretty cool.

"I've never done anything that big before, so it was pretty fun."