Three Muir Parents Honored For Muir Woods Mosaic Art

Artists L/R Yukako Inoue, Erica Bootchk and Kristina Panfilova. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

Three John Muir Middle School parents were honored by the school for their work in creating a large tile mosaic of Muir Woods on an exterior building wall next to the site’s Outdoor Classroom. The Muir community gathered on Friday, October 26, to recognize the parents’ efforts.

Erica Bootchk, Yukako Inoue and Kristina Panfilova worked for more than 1000 hours over the past year to create the 23.5’ by 9.25’ tile mosaic. The three parents used more than 18,000 tile pieces for the wall.

The women also worked with students and staff during the 2016-17 school year so that everyone on the campus that year has a piece they designed included on the wall.  From August to November 2017, they installed the pieces on the wall.

muir woods
Artists L/R Yukako Inoue, Erica Bootchk and Kristina Panfilova. (Photo by Ross A Benson)

“The result is nothing short of a masterpiece,” commented Muir Principal Greg Miller. “It has taken an already incredible space and added a beautiful work of art for generations of Muir students, staff and parents to enjoy.”

Students in Lynn Rothacher’s seventh-grade English class wrote a poem in honor of the occasion, based on a poem by Deborah Pope. The school choir and band performed at the ceremony and Bootchk, Inouye and Panfilova were presented with certificates of recognition.

Representatives from Senator Portantino and Assemblymember Laura Friedman’s offices were also on hand to make a few remarks.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

“The mosaic mural that these three parent volunteers created is truly amazing in its beauty, its scope and its impact on generations of John Muir students,” added Miller. “I love that their passion and talent adds to our incredible Outdoor Classroom in such a unique way.”

“The Muir Woods Mosaic project  grew into a memorable experience that will stay with me always,” said Bootchk. “There is nothing more moving than creating art as a community.”

“Truly being able to incorporate clay tiles created by all the students, faculty and custodians and sharing their appreciation as we watched the forest unfold before our eyes was transformative. We created a moment in time together that is more meaningful than any one part by itself.”

“We are very honored to have been a part of the Outdoor Classroom project,” Panfilova said. “What we were interested in was the challenge: not only was this the largest project we have ever worked on, it also had to be integrated into a very specific space, the Outdoor Classroom. And I believe the Outdoor Classroom turned out to be a really beautiful and special place for everyone at Muir. It definitely is for us.”

“We were embraced by the kind and welcoming community of Muir’s teachers, staff, and students while we worked on the project for more than two years,” commented Inouye. “We would like to thank all of them for creating a home for us with the genuine support, which was led by Muir’s Principal, Dr. Miller.  He truly cares to bring art to our beloved school and continues to be the great leader who spreads goodwill each and every day.”

Bootchk, Inoue and Panfilova will also be recognized by the Burbank Unified School District Board of Education at the Thursday, November 1, meeting.