If you’ve had the opportunity to visit your local Deer Park Library anytime lately, you may have noticed a new stained glass Friends of the Library mural. This piece follows a careful theme used in four other murals installed at the library, and three others approaching completion. There are two more murals done in part by the 450 students and staff members at Deer Park Elementary, one being the large mosaic at the front entrance. Another mosaic is featured at Arcadia Elementary, and a 40-foot mosaic resides at Deer Park Middle School. Spreading as far as the Davenport Grand Hotel, these beautiful pieces of art are admired by many. The man behind this artistry is Monte Moore, a retired art teacher of 36 years and a very talented local artist.
“[I feel like] art is getting pushed out and trivialized in public schools,” Moore explains. “I bring attention to it by using the community of students all working on large projects to take pride in art.” Moore, who used to teach in the Spokane Public Schools and Mead, always enjoyed working with children. Art used to be more appreciated in primary education, but has become more of a twice-a-year, grade-level only project around holidays. Now that Moore is retired, he serves as an arts advocate for public schools alongside his wife, Kat Moore.
Moore’s experience as a glass artist goes back to before 1974. He took a glass art class from Spokane Falls Community College and quickly fell in love. He received his undergraduate and master’s degree from Whitworth University. His glass experience came from a stint in San Francisco as an artist and his schooling in the United Kingdom. Now, his art decorates many buildings in Spokane County.
“I draw [a lot] of my inspiration from the natural world,” said Moore. “[There’s] so much beauty there.” The four murals in the library are actually memorial windows, specifically for the members of the Friends of the Library group that have passed on. The Friends is an organization that hosts the annual Scholastic book sale, fundraises to purchase books, and donates to scholarships. Moore explains every window is a representation of each of their lives, custom to each individual. The Friends of the Library murals feature four animals—a deer, an owl, a rabbit, and a rat—peering into a book. “The idea just seemed playful and personal to me,” Moore added.
Moore’s artistic style stems from some of the more commonly-known artists like Van Gogh, Georgia O’Keefe, Renoir, and Monet, but also so many less widely appreciated glass painters over the last 900 years. All of his glass work is done through many firings in a kiln—a special type of furnace used to modify mediums into a more malleable form.
Moore says that the majority of his glass work, but even more so the work with students, is like a time capsule. “Those kids or those who knew these people can come back years later and remember when,” Moore said. “It’s all about story. I am the one with hopefully the skill set to tell that story.”
Artisans and creators have exceptional talents and abilities that often get overlooked or underpraised. If you or someone you know has an ability that you think should be highlighted, write the editor at [email protected] or Editor Deer Park Gazette, PO Box 1581, Deer Park, WA 99006.