There’s something fishy about that mural

Will Cleary

If you’re not looking, chances are you missed this peculiar little fish, which resembles a certain university president, at the Rec Center pool.

Credit: Beth Rankin

When most people hear the statement, “You’re a real work of art,” it’s usually a figure of speech, but not for President Carol Cartwright.

While swimming at the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, many students overlook the sea life landscape depicted on the wall.

Colorful images of fish and other creatures traveling through the coral and seaweed help provide an underwater atmosphere. A closer look at this mural reveals one particular fish that resembles a rather familiar face.

The fish swimming at the bottom of the mural clearly has Cartwright’s face.

“It was just a fun addition,” artist Charlen Jeffery Satrom said of the fish.

Satrom completed the mural during the summer of 1999. Satrom was born in Corvallis, Oregon, and raised in Seattle. As an adult she also lived in Alaska. She now resides in Kent and travels back and forth between here and Alaska.

Aquatics Coordinator Mindi McBride was a lifeguard at the pool while Satrom worked on the mural.

“It was really neat to come in to work every day and see a little bit more was added to the picture,” McBride said.

When asked about how it feels to be represented on the mural, Cartwright said she thinks the whole concept is fun.

Cartwright was not told that she would be included in the mural ahead of time and wasn’t shown the portrait until it was presented to her just before it was about to be varnished.

The president said she loves the painting and her inclusion.

“I would never interfere with an artist’s creativity,” she joked.

Cartwright said one time she was in an elevator with a father and his 5-year-old daughter. The little girl turned to her father and asked, “Daddy, is that the grandma fish?”

“Children seem to love the mural,” lifeguard Mike Pruett said.

Kids are right at eye level with the mural, so it’s easy for them to feel like they are right inside the painting, he said.

“I’m not much of an artist, so seeing big works like this really impresses me,” Pruett said.

Contact student recreation and wellness reporter Will Cleary at [email protected].