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Popular downtown Lynden mural gets face-lift from WWU students

WWU art students retouch Lynden mural

Lynden Lions Club president Jason Kaehr talks about the efforts of Western Washington University art students Cecilia Karoly-Lister, Anjali Grutzius and Alaina Scheffer to retouch a mural painted by Bill Swinburnson in 2002 in Lynden, Wash. The st
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Lynden Lions Club president Jason Kaehr talks about the efforts of Western Washington University art students Cecilia Karoly-Lister, Anjali Grutzius and Alaina Scheffer to retouch a mural painted by Bill Swinburnson in 2002 in Lynden, Wash. The st

A slice of Lynden folklife got a face-lift recently, just in time for the city’s 125th anniversary.

Known affectionately as the “Swin Mural,” for its creator Bill Swinburnson’s nickname, the quaint and playful panorama depicts a street scene and the Dutch countryside. Swinburnson, who owned a local sign-painting business and paint company, painted the mural on the west side of Lynden Liquor, 610 Front St. downtown — across from one of the town’s iconic windmills.

But the 142-foot Swin Mural was looking a bit shabby in recent years, according to members of the Lions Club, who commissioned the work in 2002.

“The reds, yellows and greens had all faded out,” said club member Jason Kaehr.

Kaehr said he enlisted three Western Washington University art students to touch up the work, and the Lions are applying a clear coat to preserve it. The students received academic credit for their effort and the club footed the bill.

While Lynden is marking its 125th anniversary, the mural restoration project commemorates the local Lions Club’s 40th year. Lynden Lions are a service organization known for displaying flags downtown during national holidays, for their annual model train show, and for providing eyeglasses and hearing aids for people in need.

“It depicts the Dutch lifestyle of Lynden,” Kaehr said. “(Swinburnson) depicted his wife, and the fellow with his nose over the sign, that was (the late well-known local resident) Mike Honcoop. There’s little things built into the mural, people who mean a lot to the community. It keeps their memories alive.”

Robert Mittendorf: 360-715-2805, @bhamMitty

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