Local high school students arranged colorful pieces of tile in the shape of the iconic Orland arch.

Molly Wallace, an art teacher at Orland High School, asked students from her classes in 2018 and 2019 to create a mosaic that is on the facade of a building on Fourth Street. 

“Orland has a history of always being involved in the community and … the community is always involved with all of the schools,” Wallace said.

She said the owner of the building – located where the Kountry Kitchen Cafe was on Fourth Street in Orland – reached out to her and asked if the class would be interested in creating the mosaic. 

“A lot of times in my art classes I have the students volunteer to do a project for another teacher like paint furniture, paint a door, paint a wall, something like that,” Wallace said. 

She said the high school seniors are also required to have a certain number of hours of community service. 

“I think it’s really important that the community is such a part of our schools (and) that the schools learn to give back and the students learn to give back,” Wallace said. 

Joel Solis, Luis Mancilla and Philip Salaices, all from the class of 2018, worked on the main six panels of the mosaic that have the iconic Orland arch. 

Salaices said the design was chosen because they thought of it as a symbol of Orland.

“It’s timeless, it will always be Orland,” Wallace said. 

Solis said creating the mosaic was a lot of hard work.

“We had to basically take (the tiles) we had and they were all on these panels, some were in boxes by themselves, but a lot of them were like pieces that we actually physically had to pry off or take off and rearrange them in the different colors,” Solis said.  “... It was all in all really hard work but a fun experience.”

Wallace said the first six panels took one semester to finish and the owner ended up asking her if they could do some more panels.

“(The mosaic) kind of looked like a postage stamp up there because there was so much more building,” Wallace said. 

So four more panels ended up being created by Wallace’s 2019 art classes.

Sebastian Hernandez, who was in Wallace’s class in 2019, said it was a little easier for them because all of the tiles were ready for them to use.

“I think the hardest part was probably grouting it,” Hernandez said. “Just because you have to be on your knees so long and it starts to hurt.”

Wallace said they volunteered their time to work on the mosaic and the materials were all donated. She said the owner brought some tiles, a tile shop donated some and they’re also working with the Rainforest Project. 

Wallace said her classes are working on three other mosaics at Orland High School, which she expects will be done toward the end of the year. 

“I just think it was a great endeavor for all of us to work together and to give back to the community,” Wallace said.

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