Jack and Judy, owners of the Country Kettle Café, have changed things around near their locally favored restaurant. The building next door was torn down, a small walk way was made for easier access to customers with wheelchairs, and recently a new art project was unveiled. The Nashville pride mural, made by Maple Valley High School students in Jessica Droscha’s art classes, is the recent talk of the town after a ribbon cutting ceremony on Monday, June 12.

In the nearly 90 degree weather, between the Country Kettle and the new, brightly painted mural spelling out Nashville, parents, teachers, students, and intrigued community Nashville residents gathered to hear Droscha talk about the work she and her students had put in over the last several weeks. Droscha and her students wore matching t-shirts to signify that they had worked together on the community art project. As she explained the chain of events that led to the creation of the mural, the ribbon was stretched and the scissors were closed.

Jack was present at the event and expressed his sincere amazement at the work the students accomplished. Droscha gifted him with the framed original sketch of the mural, which Jack and Judy have hanging at the Country Kettle.

A few days later on Jack’s 82nd birthday, he and Judy reflected on the change they’d seen over the last 30 years. They are pleased they could contribute to making the town look a little more beautiful by providing an idea, a space, and funds for the art project.

“We wanted a mural, but we didn’t know what we wanted. We wrote down some ideas of what she could do, and she did it all,” said Jack.

Jack and Judy were impressed that Droscha was able to include so many characteristics of the town, and just as impressed that her students were capable of making the idea come to life. It was important to them that Maple Valley students contributed to the mural, so that they can have a stake in the pride of the town. At the far end of the mural is the image of a girl and her dog in a canoe, which came from an actual photo of one of the students with her own dog. It’s those kinds of details that Jack and Judy know will continue to keep students coming back to view the mural long after they leave high school.

Jack and Judy hope that all Nashville residents will take time to view the mural and take pride in their town. In the same way they hope that younger students will see what their older peers contributed to the town, and someday take interest in community art as well.