SIOUX CITY -- More than a dozen Bishop Heelan High School art students spent Tuesday outdoors, painting a large mural welcoming visitors to Sioux City.
A concrete wall near the intersection of Wesley Parkway and Third Street provided the canvas for the 11-by-9 mural, which highlights the city's high schools, sports teams and some of the most recognizable local icons.
Leadership Siouxland, a leadership training program, requested the mural, created under the guidance of Heelan art teacher Laurie Dougherty.
Dougherty, who has worked 34 years at the Catholic school, has directed students in numerous community mural projects over the years.
The "Welcome to Sioux City'' mural at Wesley Parkway and Third Street, near the base of Prospect Hill, was designed as an old-fashioned postcard. Icons were drawn inside the letters of the words.
"It kind of has a nostalgic look to it," he said.
The green background is a silhouette of the state of Iowa, with a red heart designates Sioux City's location on the map.
The word "Welcome,'' was painted in yellow. Inside each letter of the words, "Sioux" are images of icons that include the Sergeant Floyd riverboat museum, City Hall, the Orpheum Theatre, the Grandview Park bandshell and the War Eagle statute.
Inside each letter of the word "City" are mascots for the four city high schools -- a crusader for Heelan, a paw for West, a raider for the East and a star for North.
The mural also depicts logos for the Sioux City Bandits, Sioux City Explorers and Sioux City Musketeers.
Dougherty said the project started with all 86 art students at Heelan submitting ideas for each letter. "They then selected what they liked best," she said.
The 15 students in her Art III and Art IV students spent Tuesday painting the mural. Despite overcast weather and a threat of rain, they were expected to complete the mural by day's end.
"I'm really proud of them," she said. "They were very willing to share their talents. They designed and executed the whole thing."
Throughout the day, the students received encouragement from scores of pedestrians and motorists. One well wisher even dropped off a box of donuts.
"People would come by and yell, "Good job kids,' '' she said. "It's really been a fun day for us."
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