RAHS adding an artistic addition to school’s exterior

Painting by Sherry Raisbeck

After lots of hard work and collaboration between the Museum of Flight, RAHS, and the Raisbecks, a mural will be put up on RAHS’ south exterior walls to help enliven the space between RAHS and the Museum of Flight. The mural is expected to begin being put up on 1 Nov. 2017 and will say “The sky is not the limit” along with one of Sherry Raisbeck’s extraordinary art piece, Cosmic Lady and M82.

RAHS Principal Therese Tipton was a big part of making this idea, originally created by Dr. James D. Raisbeck and the Museum of Flight, happen.

“The overall idea between Dr. Raisbeck, the Museum of Flight, and the school was to create a space that highlighted the connection between education, aviation, and history,” said Tipton.

Director of Exhibits at the Museum of Flight Chris Mailander seconds Tipton’s statement and was the leading person in handling all of the parts of the project involving the Museum.  

“The goal is to create a more obvious association between the high school and the Museum,” said Mailander. “The strong relationship between the Museum is not obvious to the regular visitor, it is a great story that should be more widely known.”

Sherry Raisbeck’s motivation for the artwork for the mural came from her love of Hubble imagery.

“I am fascinated with Hubble imagery and I love reading and thinking about astrophysics and thinking about the universe,” said S. Raisbeck, “so I just started looking at images and doing paintings.”

This mural is of a nearby galaxy, M82. It stands out because of the eye-catching, red oxidized hydrogen spewing out of it.

“The reason it’s called Cosmic Lady and M82 is because all of this oxidized hydrogen that’s spitting out of this galaxy reminds me of a Valentino model,” said S. Raisbeck. “So, James liked it because it reminded him of a Phoenix and [Raisbeck] Aviation High School, so I think James is the one that voted for this painting to be a mural.”

Dr. Raisbeck and his wife Sherry Raisbeck have made some of the biggest contributions to RAHS. They are also very fond of the Museum of Flight because of their contributions to the education of younger people.

“The Museum of Flight in general has taken on a very, very strong position of walking the walk as well as talking the talk concerning education especially among younger people,” said Dr. Raisbeck.

To make this connection possible, Dr. Raisbeck as well as Mailender met to try and figure something out.

“James asked me to meet with him early this year to discuss how we could create a more obvious and direct connection between the high school and the Museum,” said Mailander.

Dr. Raisbeck as well as Chris Mailander have both decided that allowing visitors into “The Space Between” (referring to the space between the school and the Aviation Pavilion of the Museum) would be a wonderful way to allow visitors to view the mural and see the connection between RAHS and the Museum of Flight.

“We decided fairly quickly that opening up the north fence line to allow visitors into ‘The Space Between’ would be a good start.”

Opening up ‘The Space Between’ would allow visitors to walk directly up to the school to view the mural. The space will be poured with concrete and the fences will be reconfigured.

“We have installed a rolling gate that opens the gallery to ‘The Space Between’,” said Mailander, “The Museum has yet to establish guidelines for when we will have the gate open.”

Since the meaning behind the mural is not blatantly obvious to the average viewer at the Museum, there will be an interpretive panel alongside the mural. This will be put up to illuminate the connection between the school and the Museum, and will explain that this is Sherry Raisbeck’s contribution to the school.

“The mural is scheduled to be installed Wednesday, November 1,” said Mailander. “The interpretive panel is still several weeks out.”

The mural is being put up with a goal in mind to connect RAHS with the Museum of Flight, but it is also going to be used to display RAHS’ connection with Dr. Raisbeck and Sherry Raisbeck because of their extraordinary contributions to RAHS.

“Dr. Raisbeck and his wife Sherry have made incredible contributions to our school,” said Tipton, “and I think it is a wonderful idea to honor them.”

This mural that will bring liveliness to RAHS as well as the Museum of Flight would not have been possible without someone to create the art of the mural.

“Well of course, none of this would have happened if we didn’t have an artist because this is dedicated to Sherry Raisbeck,” said Dr. Raisbeck. “There will be a standard right there on a placard that explains very briefly that this is Sherry Raisbeck’s contribution.”

Sherry expressed her strong feelings about how art should be a part of education and should not be left out.

“I think that a STEM school is deficient in arts, and I think that STEAM is a much better, realistic, enriching way to grow up instead of just STEM. I have nothing to do with any of those kind of decisions but I can make an offering,” said S. Raisbeck.  “Science and art have been intertwined since the beginning of civilization and to leave it out in a STEM school is really sad, its very very sad.”

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