An art project in downtown Battle Ground more than a decade in the making is finally complete, more or less.
On Aug. 3 local artist Kara Krieger-McGhee installed the final parts of a “Snapshots in Time” collection of scenes from Battle Ground’s history. The project has hit a few snags since starting in 2008, though now the work showing scenes from different aspects of the city’s past is complete enough for the artist behind it to call it finished.
The final panel of the mural to be installed featured the Battle Ground Rose Parade float, an institution that has been a part of the city nearly as long as it has been an official municipality after being incorporated in 1951.
Part of the protracted process of the project had to do with the entities who supported it disappearing over the years, Krieger-McGhee explained. The Old Town Battle Ground Association and the Battle Ground Chamber of Commerce have both folded in the time since the project began.
Krieger-McGhee, a former education instructor, began her art career in earnest around 2000. She said during her past career she would pass the dairy on her way to work, thinking that the side of the building could make for a good spot to put some art.
Krieger-McGhee had connected with members of the Old Town Battle Ground Association, beginning work in September 2008, according to a past article in The Reflector around the time of the start of the project. She said the images were picked to represent different decades in the city, going as far back as the “battle” — or lack thereof — that led to the city’s namesake. She said that “In and Around Battle Ground” had been instrumental in picking the scenes, a work written by local Louise Tucker about the history of the city.
The mural was initially thought to take only three years, though now the project has taken around 11 years to be complete. Though initially budgeted at about $35,000, Krieger-McGhee said the total cost was probably less — she even created a GoFundMe fundraising webpage to finance the final touches to the project.
“I’m repainting the (Reflector) newspaper for the third time,” Krieger-McGhee remarked, a testament to how long it took to get the project to completion.
Krieger-McGhee said that in the first year she was able to complete the first third of the project, though progress halted when the 2008 financial crisis hit. Being this close to completion of the project was “surreal,” she remarked.
“It’s like my life can move on,” she said.
For Krieger-McGhee, the history of the city was at the heart of the project.
“The thing that we really wanted to instill in our community was a sense of where Battle Ground was moving from,” she explained. “It’s more or less just to kind of remind people of the history of Battle Ground.”