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Honoring Community

Honoring Community

Last month, we unveiled beautiful new murals on the campuses of Kelseyville High School (KHS) and Kelseyville Elementary School, designed and painted by members of the KHS Native American Club in collaboration with local students and community partners. It was an amazing feat of engineering (these murals are massive), creativity, and cooperation.

 Artist Shane Grammer, founder of the Hope Through Art foundation (, not only worked with students to help them bring their artistic ideas to life, he also taught them the technical side of things, demonstrating how to safely use the tools and equipment required for such a big project. Shane works as a fabricator and artist, doing work for places like Disneyland, so he knows what he’s doing. 

Shane believes the transformative power of art can serve as a beacon of inspiration and healing for communities grappling with adversity. His foundation not only nurtures the creative talents within these communities, but also fosters a sense of belonging and resilience. Between Shane and our Native American Club advisor, Katie Ray, students got a master class in how to come together for a purpose bigger than themselves. 

If you don’t know Katie, you’re missing out. She is a ball of energy, determination, love, and generosity. She leads by example and inspires students to go outside their comfort zone, to try new things, and to make the world a better place–starting with their own community. Katie began working with Kelseyville Unified School District several years ago when our superintendent at the time, Dave McQueen, told all the principals we needed to listen to her and support her ideas because her goals were so aligned with ours.

Katie not only supports the Native American Club at Kelseyville High School, she also supports similar clubs at Clear Lake High and Upper Lake High, where she and several other advisors help raise funds to give students opportunities they wouldn’t have otherwise. They take students on college tours, collaborate with local tribes to create youth events, do community service, and week after week, they create a space on campus where students can explore their social, emotional, and cultural needs.

She said, “To start our club meetings, we circle up and talk about how students are doing–mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and physically. When we first started at Kelseyville, right after COVID, kids came in all covered up with hoodies and masks. They didn’t talk much. We’d ask, ‘How are you doing?’ and they’d say, ‘OK.’ Now we get in-depth answers. We can tell when there’s a lot going on, and we can help them.”  Professionally, Katie works as a victim services program manager, and she says the time she spends with students keeps her grounded. 

 She loves it when students bring ideas to her, so when they brought up the idea of a mural, she was all in. The project took a lot of planning and the process was really interesting. With Shane’s guidance, students discussed and then drew their ideas. Keep in mind, these students are not artists. They drew stick figures and rough sketches. Then they planned each wall, or panel. After that, they created a doodle wall, where they basically got to put up graffiti all over the wall. (A community member saw this and, understandably, was a little alarmed but it was all part of the process.) The graffiti became the landmarks used to create the mural images. The students took pictures of the doodle wall and overlaid the digital images to figure out where the final art would go. If you’ve ever done art based on a grid, it’s a similar idea. 

During Spring Break, students, their siblings, community members, and even two of our board members, Mary Beth Mosko and Casey Carlson, were out there working and painting. Shane and another professional artist, Mammoth, did some of the detailed work in the hardest-to-reach places. Mammoth was up on two-story scaffolding, while others were on ladders, and still others were sitting or standing underneath. Our Maintenance Team was on campus doing other work, and helped out, too. The whole thing was incredible. Student athletes came before their games, left to go compete, and returned afterwards to keep working on the murals. Younger siblings cleaned brushes and rollers so older students could keep painting. People worked from dawn to dusk. Supporters brought pizza and everything just kept going. 

When we unveiled the mural to the community and to the students, it was wonderful to hear all the comments. It was obvious to everyone how much thought and care went into this. Sometimes, when things feel so adversarial in the world, it’s even more important to have a project that brings people together. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we are united in a common purpose.

Upcoming Events

August 6

Special School Board Meeting

5:30 PM - 7:00 PM

August 20

Regular School Board Meeting

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

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