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May 09
Utah artist thanks North Platte with mural

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Sienna Pfaff, of Elk Ridge, Utah paints a mural on a wall at the Super 8 by Wyndham motel in North Platte. Pfaff is a member of the NPCC Knights softball team.

A Utah native is leaving her mark on North Platte one brushstroke at a time. 

Sienna Pfaff, of Elk Ridge, Utah has spent the past month painting a mural at the Super 8 by Wyndham motel in North Platte. The mural features a locomotive roaring through a Nebraska landscape. 

The train is a replica of the one on display in Memorial Park. For the landscape, Pfaff found inspiration in the places she has traveled to during her time at North Platte Community College. 


"Watching it all come together has been exciting," Pfaff said. "I didn't want the mural to look cartoony, but the size of it has been a challenge. I had to really concentrate on accurately representing the perspective and on mixing exactly the same tone of paint every time. It takes a lot of paint to cover a wall, so I use it up quickly. Because the mural is outside, my light also changes as the sun goes down." 

Art is a creative outlet that's relatively new to her. Although Pfaff's parents are both artistic, she started painting just two years ago in high school. 

"I paint everything now," Pfaff said. "I use acrylics and have done owls, trains, canyons, waterfalls – you name it. I'm taking art classes at NPCC, so through those I've also done some still life." 

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Pfaff is in North Platte because NPCC head softball coach Janelle Higgins recruited her. Higgins is also the person who got her the job painting the mural. 

"Coach's friend manages the motel, and she was looking for someone who could paint a mural on a bare wall," Pfaff said. "Coach recommended me." 

Pfaff chose to paint a train because North Platte is home to Bailey Yard and because the first acrylic painting she ever did was of a train. That piece won an art scholarship in Utah. 

"Looking back, that really predicted my future here," Pfaff said. "Not only did I get my college education in North Platte, but I also met my fiancé here. I think it was meant to be." 

The popularity of Pfaff's work has skyrocketed the past couple of years. Her art has hung in the Utah State Capitol and was selected to receive a scholarship from the Utah State Senate. She has been selling her creations on Facebook and also did some commissioned pieces for NPCC employees. 

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The first acrylic painting Sienna Pfaff ever created was of a train.

Despite that, she was hesitant to start on the Super 8 mural. 

"I didn't know what to expect, and I was worried about the dimensions being off," Pfaff said. "I freehand all my work, but do use photographs for reference on the bigger paintings. In the case of the mural, I snapped a photo of the train in the park and look at it on my phone." 

Pfaff started the project the first week of April and has been working on it two hours per day every three days or so since then – as weather allows. 

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This pen and ink owl drawing is just one of many Pfaff has created. Pfaff has only been doing artwork for two years.

Her goal is to finish the painting by Friday when school ends and she has to go back to Utah. She has enjoyed the project, but not enough to become an artist full-time. 

"After NPCC, I plan to transfer to Southern Utah University to major in dentistry and become and oral surgeon," Pfaff said. "This mural is my way of saying, 'Thanks,' to North Platte and to NPCC. I've had an amazing experience here, and I'll never forget this place." 

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Heather Johnson
Area Communications Specialist

Heather produces and distributes press releases for the college. She began work at MPCC in 2014. Prior to that, she spent five years as the news director/web manager for Eagle Radio in North Platte. From 2009-2014 she worked as a reporter/photographer for The North Platte Telegraph. Heather has a bachelor's degree in journalism from Chadron State College.

Brent L. Cobb
McCook Community College News Bureau Coordinator​​​