Barnes’ mural legacy to be honored at Bristol
Plaques also going to artist’s volunteer helpers

       It all began six years ago when Bristol Elementary Principal Steve Ferguson decided a mural was needed for a long, blank wall inside the school.
       The resulting volunteer work - a colorful, 54-by-9-foot timeline of people, places and events from 1860 to 2000 - not only filled his request, it became the capstone of a Westside artist's life and career. Kathy Halstead Barnes died of incurable cancer less than a year after leading completion of the mural in March 2000. Diana Francese (left) and Kathy Halstead Barnes pose in
front of the Bristol mural during the dedication in January 
2000. Barnes, suffering from incurable breast cancer, died eight months later.
       A brief public event has been scheduled Tuesday, May 11, to present plaques in honor of Barnes and numerous other volunteers who worked on the mural. The timing also bears in mind that this is the last year at Bristol for Barnes' son, Connor. “We're trying to bring closure to it,” Ferguson said.
       The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Bristol gym, 890 N. Walnut St. Scheduled to be on hand are the artist's husband, William Barnes, as well as Connor and his older sister, Lauren, who was attending Bristol when the mural was being painted and is now a seventh-grader at Holmes Middle School.
       “We're trying to bring closure to it,” Ferguson said. “Because of Kathy's passing away, we had never put up a plaque.”
       One of the three plaques from the school is a tribute to Kathy Barnes. Another recognizes the artist and Westsider/Bristol parent Diana Francese, who was Barnes's closest assistant on the mural. The third school plaque names the 40 volunteers in all who worked on the mural.
       In addition, a plaque has come to the school from the El Paso County Pioneers Association, congratulating the “historical mural at Bristol, commemorating local, people, places and events.”
       The four plaques will temporarily be placed on a sheet of plywood in the gym, but will eventually be mounted by the mural, said Joan Grant, the Bristol librarian who is working with Francese on the school's mural web site.
       All the volunteers have also been invited to the ceremony. Each will be given a certificate of participation and a flower, Grant said.
       Among the 146 historical figures/entities in the mural are Colorado Springs founder William Palmer, Bristol namesake Richard C. Bristol, The Cotton Club, astronaut Eileen Collins, sports teams (including the now-defunct Gold Kings), the original Cheyenne Mountain “zoological park,” the Bristol Class of 1926, early area explorer George Ruxton, the “Prospector” statue at Highway 24 and 21st Street and Ferguson (who said he “didn't know about it” when he was painted into it with his dog, Tigger). The timeline moves from left to right.
       Around the sides of the mural are handprints from students who were attending Bristol in '99, plus pawprints from Tigger.
       People can view the wall virtually - and learn details about its images - at the Bristol School web site: www.cssd11.k12.co.us/bristol.

Westside Pioneer Article