New Australian-Style Mural In Laramie Teaches Kids To 'Care For Country'

May 28, 2015

Artist Paul Taylor (left center) and children in the School Age Child Care program work on the mural.
Credit Cynthia Stoffers

A new mural inspired by an Australian myth is now on display at the Laramie Community Recreation Center. The colorful 5 by 18 foot mural was created by about 70 kids in the Rec Center’s School Age Child Care program.

Laramie artist and educator Paul Taylor spent a week with the kids, singing and telling the ancient Australian aboriginal story of how Rainbow Snake created the rivers. “As Rainbow made the rivers, Rainbow then went off, and he went off into a billabong. And all the children rushed over to the billabong to see the beautiful rainbow colors disappear into the water…”

“And it’s total arts in education,” he says. “The singing, the dancing, the painting, and the story—basically, they practice theatre with the landscape.”

Taylor, who has studied with an Australian aboriginal elder for decades, has made lots of aboriginal-style murals with Wyoming kids over the years. This one shows Rainbow Snake as the Laramie River, winding between two mountain ranges, the source of its water.

The mural is called Care for Country. Taylor says it teaches the kids how they’re connected to the land they live in. “Everything is all interconnected,” he explains. “So one of the things I say to the kids is, pay attention to your land, to your plants, your birds, your animals, your insects—they are your relatives. And you’re not alone in the world.”

The mural can be seen on the second floor of the Laramie Community Recreation Center.