The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

The Bobcat Prowl

The Student News Site of South Windsor High School

The Bobcat Prowl

The American Mural Project

A Connecticut artist’s stunning mural depicts workers from all around the country.
Maanya Pande
The American Mural Project, located in Winstead, CT, which depicts workers from around America

In 1999, Ellen Griesedieck, a painter from Connecticut, was on an assignment in Washington painting the fabrication of the Boeing 747. While there, she got to know the workers firsthand and was inspired by the scene in front of her. She was motivated to capture the scene there, but canvas space felt like it could only partially share her vision.

I started to think about how amazing it would be to create a giant painting that actually was in scale with what I witnessed at Boeing so people could experience symbolically what I had experienced in person

— Ellen Griesedieck

She then spent the next 23 years working on a mural that stands 120 feet wide and 5 stories tall today. The entire first year was simply dedicated to making a smaller version of the mural, and planning all the different kinds of work she wanted to feature. The original version was just 12 feet long and 5 feet high. When she started working on this project, she knew she wanted kids to be involved so they could notice these workers from a young age.

Her first trial of reaching out was with a group of 200 kids through 8 schools from CT, NY, and MA. This experimental group was a huge success and the kids were able to bring their own creativity to the mural. The kids were just given a tissue and ceramic clay as a template and were able to create an image of a foundry worker for the mural. The success of 

An up close look at a section of the mural made by the students (Maanya Pande)

This event prompted Ellen to travel around the country for this project. To date, she has worked with over 15,000 students and adults in 17 states, as well as doing some work with Habitat for Humanity. 

The mural was opened up to the public and was met with all different kinds of reactions. “The most gratifying overall takeaway is how people seem to be positively affected in some way by coming into the space.” She was able to share these stories of workers who are often overlooked in society and bring them into the spotlight.

And she’s still not done. “Right now I am working on installing hundreds of pieces contributed by students on our collaborative projects all over,” Griesedieck told The Prowl

Her plan is to have these collaborative pieces be displayed on a ramp on the inside of the mural. “Because of the nature of the confined space on the ramp way, this is a more intimate look at what we have been doing honoring working people, up close and all around you,” stated Griesedieck

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Maanya Pande
Maanya Pande, Finance Manager
Maanya is a senior at SWHS who is interested in a career in civil rights or law. She enjoys reading & writing and hopes for opportunities to make an impact with her writing. Outside of class, she also enjoys dancing and running. She also runs for the girls cross country team.