Henkle Middle School mural Press Release by Michelle Yamamoto Feb 29, 2019

A new multicultural mural at Henkle Middle School was completed this week with the help of 39 HMS students and will be placed on permanent display on the east exterior wall at the entrance to the football field.  Phoebe Kruchoski, one of our teachers who helped organize this project, had her students from her Community Project elective class work on the mural in addition to the other students.

Designed by Michelle Yamamoto, member artist at 301 Gallery in Hood River, art teacher at Wildwood Academy and artist for Art In Education of the Gorge designed it to pay homage to different cultural heritages that represent significant history in the greater Gorge area.

The Columbia River Gorge represents the life it gives to our orchard industry and sustenance and joy it brings to the gorge residents and visitors.

Michelle wanted the mural to have an inspirational message  “No Act of Kindness No Matter How Small Is Ever Wasted” and Principal Haley Ortega wanted to make sure both English and Spanish were represented.

There are two entities to acknowledge with regard to this project:

The Washington State Arts Commission and The White Salmon Valley Education Foundation, which funded the writing and administering of the WSAC grant. Thank you as well to CJ at Morgan paint for providing all the paint supplies and The Home Depot for donating the varnish.  


Native American Indians regarded the grizzly bear with awe and respect

and is considered a sign of strength. The grizzly is also Henkle Middle School’s mascot.

The meaning of the Eagle symbol was to signify courage, wisdom and strength and its purpose was to carry prayers to the Creator.

A common Mexican symbol of the Day of the Dead celebration are the skulls (calaveras), Mexicans are one of the few people in the world that celebrate the dead with a sense of happiness, respect and humour. 

The Japanese Dragon represents wisdom, strength, force for good, wind/water. 

Michelle Yamamoto

On this journey starting from Kota Kinabalu on the island of Borneo to Beijing, China and Manila, Philippines to Whistler, B.C. to and now on a lake way south of Seattle, in the USA I’ve found incredible inspiration in the places I’ve lived and the people I have met have informed and engendered my creative expression. These surf art pieces have been a creative culmination beginning with my first surf art show in Whistler BC, some 8 years ago. Now, after over 20 solo and group art shows, tradeshows and my prints featured in 20 retail and hotels in North America I have taken my art to the next level introducing my first line of journals and purses in early 2012. This fusion of ancient Eastern philosophies together with the strength, courage and grace that is demanded of the surfer, are metaphors that are meant to invite the viewer to explore our own inner journeys and how life at play… be it skiing, surfing or snowboarding or whatever, is our meditation and where we express our courage, strength and passion.