A fine welcome

Apr. 27—University of Idaho student Madelynn Gregoire wanted to leave her stamp on Moscow before she graduated this May.

She did so in the form of 10-foot by 10-foot mural serving as an unofficial Moscow welcome sign that greets cars as they enter downtown from the north.

Gregoire was invited by J-U-B Engineers manager David Watkins to paint the mural on the side of the J-U-B building on the west side of Jackson Street at the intersection of Third Street.

Watkins said his staff wanted to bring some art to their downtown building, and perhaps participate in Artwalk in the future. He reached out to Gregoire, who won a student competition two years ago at the UI Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering to paint a mural inside the J-U-B Undergraduate Teaching Laboratory on campus.

Gregoire began working with J-U-B since fall 2023 to finalize the design of this new mural.

Though J-U-B is a regional company, Watkins said they wanted the mural to have a local flavor.

"The original thinking was focus on Moscow and Idaho as best we can," Watkins said.

It was Gregoire's idea to make the mural look like a vintage postcard with the words "Welcome to Moscow."

The multi-colored mural features Moscow City Hall, huckleberries, cutthroat trout, a moose, mountains and syringa flowers. Syringa is Idaho's state flower.

It also depicts a surveyor and engineers as an homage to the J-U-B staff.

It took Gregoire four weeks to paint the mural as she navigated adverse spring weather and her course load. Gregoire said she heard some encouragement from drivers who passed by while she was working.

"A lot of people really liked it," she said.

While the lifelong artist will continue to paint, her career will be in the engineering field. Gregoire will be an engineer in training at KPFF in Boise.

KPFF was an engineering firm involved in the UI ICCU Arena construction.

Gregoire will leave with fond memories of Moscow. She called it a "very special place" and is happy to make it a little more colorful with her art.

"I thought it would be kind of cool to leave my mark on Moscow before I go," she said.

Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.