Elm Creek Eagles Soar

Mural at elementary school in Maple Grove encourages healthy eating and physical activity.


A new mural was painted in the lunchroom at Elm Creek Elementary during the last school year. Artist Barbara Alldaffer, and mother of an Elm Creek student, worked on the mural from March until May.

“I wanted to add something colorful to the school for the families, children, teachers and staff to enjoy,” said Alldaffer, whose older daughter also attended the school. “Elm Creek has given so much to our family and we are so grateful! This project has been a great joy!”

A collaborative approach was used to create the one-of-a-kind masterpiece. Alldaffer encouraged students to provide input about what they’d like to see included in the mural. The student’s ideas were posted on the wall of the lunchroom to inspire the artist. The mural includes a vibrant color scheme with trees, wildlife, water, flowers, food and much more. 

“It’s a fox picnic type of theme with all types of healthy foods,” said Alldaffer. “As the kids come into the cafeteria for lunch, they are greeted by this scene and walk right under a waterfall and go through a cave on their way through the lunch line."

Painting on the concrete wall was a challenge for Alldaffer. She said its rough texture and deep grooves where the blocks meet made it difficult. Alldaffer added that she used acrylic paint, which dries quickly and has no odor so it was safe to use around kids.  

“She involved the kids and purposely painted during lunch,” said Mary Ross, resource manager at Elm Creek Elementary. “Of course we’re the Elm Creek Eagles, so we have lots of eagles in it.”

Alldaffer said she hopes to add the finishing touches to the mural soon. She is waiting for a lift to reach the higher part of the wall.

“I need to finish the sky and I’m going to add ‘Elm Creek Eagles Soar’ at the top,” said Alldaffer.

The mural was funded by a grant from Fuel Up To Play 60 program, which is a collaboration between the National Dairy Council, the National Football League and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to encourage smart food choices and daily physical activity.

The grant covered the cost of the paint. Alldaffer donated her time and talent to the project. Alldaffer owns Rainbow Party Arts, which specializes in face painting and balloon creations for birthday parties and other special events.

“I strive to use my skills as an artist to make a difference and bring people together in the community, especially children and their families,” said Alldaffer.


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