Folks driving to Pullman are being welcomed by a massive natural art display of Cougar pride courtesy of a local farmer, a regional business and an expert artist.
Using straw, composted soil and garbanzo beans, artist Stan Herd, his apprentice, Kyra Roesle, and a team of helpers have carved a mural displaying the words, “Home is Where the Cougars Are” being painted by Butch T. Cougar on the hillside overlooking the intersection of U.S. Highway 195 and State Route 270 west of Pullman.
The mural stretches across two acres and is on a field that belongs to farmer Jack Fulfs, a third-generation Pullman landowner and longtime WSU supporter who was approached by BECU, a credit union, and Herd about using his field for artwork for the first time last year.
The mural was created in about a week, but Herd said he took two separate trips to the Palouse earlier in the year to plan the design and lay the groundwork.The crew carved out the wheat stubble and used straw, soil and hay to create the variety of color tones.
Herd said this commissioned piece is supposed to celebrate BECU’s relationship with WSU and help people find a sense of unity during the unsettling times of today.
“A lot of students are disenfranchised from not only their school, but also their social experience,” he said. “BECU wanted to do something to let the students know that folks care about them.”
Herd, who has created more than 70 natural art murals in fields around the world, believes his art pays homage to the relationship people have to the nature that surrounds them.
“I use as many organic and natural things as I can to create the work — I try not to use paint,” he said.
Herd said he comes from seven generations of family members involved in agriculture, so this particular project is extra special to him because it pays tribute to students going to school in unique landscapes.
“The Palouse is so amazing,” he said. “To come out here to wheat country and create something in wheat around these people means a lot.”
Ellen Dennis can be reached at (208) 883-4632 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.