art instructor Wilson
creates murals at Clifty Inn
used photos of waterfalls,
trees from actual park
(July 2010) After her job as a public school
art teacher ended, artist Vickie Wilson found herself in a delicate
financial position. But thanks to what she has described as a moment
of Divine inspiration, she soon found herself with a job
of which many artists can only dream.
by Konnie McCollum
Vickie Wilson created a series
of murals depicting nature scenes
from the park on the dining room
walls at Clifty Inn.
Wilson created the series of acrylic murals that adorn
the dining room at Clifty Inn in Madison, Ind.s Clifty Falls State
Park. The scenes in the murals depict images that can be found throughout
There are a series of five 5x7 foot panels that show cascading waterfalls
of Big Clifty, views of the Milton-Madison Bridge from the park, and
cliffs and ridges along the many hiking trails within the scenic park.
Another series of connected panels at the front of the dining room show
actual trees and sites within the park. One of the panels is an amazing
depiction of the gnarled, split tree along Trail 8 where it crosses
These murals are incredible, said Shelly Brian, who was
eating lunch in the dining room one day in June. They almost look
like actual photos instead of paintings.
Wilson, 51, has considered herself an artist since she was in the seventh
grade at school. Thats when I knew I was good at art,
she said. I love working on my art, and to this day I am always
working on something.
After graduating from Indiana University Southeast with a Bachelor of
Fine Arts, Wilson went on to earn a masters degree in Art Education
from the University of Louisville. She has been working as a teacher
in a variety of capacities since. Currently, she works as an art history
instructor for Oakland City University at Madison Correctional Facility.
I love to teach, she explained. I prefer to teach
studio art because its almost therapeutic and it can be amazing,
but recently I have been doing more art history and art appreciation.
Wilson said it was an act of God, that led her to the mural
painting at Clifty Inn. After a series of unfortunate problems, she
had depleted her financial savings. She needed to do something, but
she wasnt sure what to do.
I honestly feel like I was told to take one of my works, get it
framed and take it to Clifty Inn to sell it, she said. Thats
exactly what I did, and it turned out to be an amazing opportunity for
The management at the Clifty Inn loved her artistry and asked her to
paint the mural panels while the hotel was undergoing its major renovation.
For the next 21/2 years, Wilson worked daily on creating the realistic-looking
landscapes on the walls. She photographed scenes throughout the park
and carefully studied each one before committing them to the walls.
This was a true blessing from God, she said. I am
so thankful I was given the chance to create these. I loved working
While she was painting, she also began working at the park and has been
there for the past six years.
Although she stays busy between teaching, painting and her work at the
park, Wilson is also interested in offering art lessons and would love
to teach for other colleges or universities in the area.
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