He’s 89-year-old, and Art Dahlstrand – Tucson Country Day School’s President, CEO and Founder Richard Cooper’s brother – may dabble in art as a hobby, but he certainly has an amazing talent for this hobby of his. When asked to create a giant 12-foot by 25-foot mural to be placed permanently on the stage at Tucson Country Day School, Art eagerly volunteered.
Dahlstrand has been a part of many projects at TCDS throughout the years. He has been working on this masterpiece since October and finished only a few weeks ago. On March 18, he was excited to unveil his amazing project to hundreds of students, teachers, staff and about 2-dozen fellow retirees from Art’s retirement community who were chauffeured to the school to view Art’s impressive work.
What an awe-inspiring moment it was for all of us as the huge tarp covering the mural was pulled up to display the beautiful scene behind it. Students, staff and friends cheered and clapped as they saw the mural for the first time.
Art traveled the approximately 24-miles at least three days each week from his Northwest retirement community to our school to work on the mural. Art spent six to seven hours a day painting during each visit.
To produce the giant mural, Art first sketched a drawing of the desert-themed scene. Next, he divided his drawing into grids. He then painted the mural in small sections – working with 4×8 pieces allowing him to create one piece of the mural at a time. Dedicated to his artwork, Art often could be seen working on a table on his hands and knees, adding intricate details to the mural.
Each section of the mural was recently pieced together and mounted on the stage of Tucson Country Day School.
The colorful mural consists of a view from the school facing the Santa Catalina Mountains, which are in the background along with a hot-air balloon and birds flying over. In the foreground are beautifully-detailed cacti, shrubs, bushes and desert animals including quail and prairie dogs. Also in the mural is the school’s grassy soccer field, with a variety of colors that spell the letters TCDS, short for Tucson Country Day School. “Home of the Champions” is also placed on the mural – popping out to add depth. On the sides of the mural are the American and Arizona flags.
Art only took one or two painting classes when he was young. Since then, he’s taught himself everything he knows when it comes to painting.
Thank you so much Art for your amazing dedication and talent to our school! We will enjoy the mural everyday, and we appreciate all that you do for Tucson Country Day Schol.