Did you know? Memorable mosaic mural

Stacey Houk makes a meaningful painting dedicated to a former west teacher


posted with permission from Stacey Houk.

“The Promise” by Stacey Houk. The mural can be found in the hallway by the Lunchroom.

Joseph Potts, Reporter

Did you know that the art piece on the wall by the lunchroom is actually a mural dedicated to a deceased teacher that formerly worked here at West?

The art piece (known as a mural, a painting that is made directly on a wall) was made by Stacey Houk, a teacher from Jackson Elementary. Houk graduated from West in 1977 and has been teaching art for 25 years. Houk made the mural as way to honor her teacher Don Heggen, who was a mentor to her through college and a family friend throughout her life.

“Don taught me the mosaic process. My son, David Houk, was a student of Mr. Heggen at West and for graduate courses. David and I have 15 murals and a sculpture in DCSD.”

The project was funded by Houk and her family. The family of Don Heggen chose his watercolor painting, called the “Promise,” for the mural.

“The project started after the sudden death of Don Heggen. I wanted to create a memorial mural to honor his career at West High School. He touched so many lives,” Houk said. “We began working on “Promise” two years ago with students at Jackson Elementary. Last year I brought the mosaic home to finish. I completed it this summer.”

Before they made the mural, it had to be planned out first. For example, drawing the design on plywood and outlining all the lines in black Sharpie marker, which was done by David Houk. Houk then selected colors from her inventory or went shopping for new pieces. She used a variety of pieces like broken dishes, tile, mirror and glass. She used tile adhesive to attach the pieces and a paste called grout to fill in the crevices.

“Cleaning the grout is most important part for craftsmanship. Kevin Lehman, the DCSD carpenter, cuts all wood pieces, installs the mural and creates hand-wrapped copper frames for my murals,” Houk said.

Houk’s husband, Terry Houk, cut the marble for the mural with a tile saw. She used a hammer to hit the pieces to make them fit into their proper spaces.

“[The] mosaic process is like a paint by numbers/jigsaw puzzle. Having knowledge of design principles helps me make good color choices. Mosaics are very time consuming. I enjoyed the process,” Houk said.