'Welcome to Pelican Rapids!': 6th-graders design mural for Minnesota town

The artwork was a collaborative effort between area sixth-grade students and artist Paul Johnson.

A new mural in downtown Pelican Rapids, Minn., created by 6th grade art students and artist Paul Johnson. .jpeg
A new mural hangs in downtown Pelican Rapids, Minnesota, which was created this year by sixth-grade art students and artist Paul Johnson.
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PELICAN RAPIDS, Minn. — An eye-catching, 8-foot-tall mural created by sixth-graders now welcomes people to downtown Pelican Rapids.

The mural is colorful and filled with flowers, birds and trees. On one side is a fish, and on the other a giant turtle. Two central hands — one black and one white — tenderly cradle a butterfly. And the phrase "Welcome to Pelican Rapids!" runs across the top.

The artwork was a collaborative effort between area sixth-grade students and artist Paul Johnson, and includes more than 80% of the students' ideas.

Johnson is a graduate of Pelican Rapids schools and for the past 13 years has been known for his annual mural work at Concordia College Christmas concerts.

Students spent more than two months crafting their mural designs and Johnson scanned each piece into Adobe Photoshop, later creating a landscape by combining the images together.


The finished product, made possible through grants from the Lake Region Arts Council and from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund, was printed on six 4-foot-by-8-foot aluminum panels and installed downtown.

C.S. Hagen is an award-winning journalist currently covering the education and activist beats mainly in North Dakota and Minnesota.
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