Laurel High Wins 2015 War of the Walls Competition

WAROFWALLSlogoMorgan Ellestad from Laurel High School is the winner of this year’s War of the Walls mural competition!

Voting was held online over the past week.  Laurel took the prize with 34% of the votes, edging out Senior High and Billings Central in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.  Ellestad was awarded a traveling trophy and bragging rights for the year.

Meet the Artists

Morgan Ellestad – Laurel High School

LAUREL-nameMorgan Ellestad has some pretty big shoes to fill – and she knows it!  Her two older sisters were each chosen to paint the MasterLube mural for Laurel High during their senior year of school; Taylor in 2013 and Amber in 2010.  When Morgan got the nod to paint on behalf of her graduating class, she was up to the task.  “I wanted to be like my sisters,” she said, “I wanted to reach the same expectations as them.” Taylor won the War of the Walls mural contest in 2013, and Morgan would love a repeat in 2015.

After graduation, Morgan plans to move to Colorado Springs to be with her husband, Trevor Yates, who serves in the Army at Ft. Carson.   She also plans to attend college to study art.

Daughter of Shawn and Kathy Ellestad, Amber has worked on murals in the past and has another mural up her sleeve for this spring.  When she isn’t painting, she enjoys spending time with her friends and family and appreciating the outdoors through camping, dirt bike riding, and four-wheeling.  She also works as a cashier at Town and Country and studies hard to maintain a spot on the honor roll at LHS.



Chance Jordan – Skyview High School

Chance Jordan loves to make people smile and laugh.  And he has plenty of opportunity through his work in photography, art, and producing YouTube videos.  He was always known as “being the creative kid,” he says, and being chosen to represent his graduation class gives him the opportunity to show “the strength, courage and pride of us Falcons at Skyview High School.  I think the mural is a perfect idea to show what we’re made of.”

Son of Kelly Higbie and Randy Jordan, Chance plans to make his way to California and go to college to study film, photography, and art.  He credits his sister, father, mother, and grandmother’s artistic talents as inspiration for his own creative achievements.  “I’ve always loved drawing.  I love how free you are to create whatever comes to your mind,” he explains.

Chance has also acted in a television commercial, plays several musical instruments, and works at the Alberta Bair Theater helping set up shows.  He has produced several short films and skits for YouTube and plans to continue all his creative endeavors in the future.



Ashley Schuett – Billings Central Catholic High School

central-nameAshley Schuett is a busy young lady.  Between swimming for BCCHS’ swim team, participating in National Honor Society, CORE, KCK, and volunteering, she and her friends managed to paint this year’s Central High School mural at the downtown MasterLube.

Art has been a part of Ashley’s world since preschool.  “My dad took art classes when he was in college, so he has always been there to help and support me. My three sisters are also interested in art. Growing up we did all sorts of arts and crafts together as a family,” she says.  She hopes to continue her artwork in her free time while attending Case Western Reserve University and majoring in Biomedical Engineering.

Ashley drew inspiration for her mural from her exceptionally small graduating class.  “Our class has only 55 graduating seniors, so there are 55 leaves (in the design),” she explains.  To her, the artwork “means that we are each unique, just like the leaves, but are all part of a bigger whole – the vines connected. It also demonstrates our faith and our school spirit.”

Her parents, Brian and Amy Schuett, are especially proud, and Ashley was particularly happy to share the experience with her mom, who is a BCCHS alum.



Anthony Martinez – Billings Senior High School

Anthony Martinez likes making things “pop.”  After years of admiring graffiti art on trains and walls around town, Anthony decided to try his own hand at the underappreciated art form.  He wanted to shed some light on a type of art that, he feels, is often negatively judged.  Being born and raised in Billings, he felt influenced by the undiscovered talents around Montana.

Although it’s common practice among muralists to sketch an enlarged outline of their mural onto the wall before painting, Anthony freehanded his entire piece in an effort to stay true to the graffiti element of the design.  After all, he has done this sort of work before for school projects, and he hopes to continue his artistic talent by opening his own business and selling his art on walls all over the city.

After graduation, Anthony will attend Northwest College in Powell, WY and major in graphic design.  In his spare time, he enjoys long boarding, having BBQs with friends and family, and hanging out with CoCo, the puppy of his mom, Toni Martinez.



Nichole Ferestad – Billings West High School

Theriocephaly, or the art of humans with animal heads, isn’t a subject that most of us tackle in high school.  But for West High senior Nichole Ferestad, the challenging assignment from one of her painting classes ended up inspiring her design for this year’s class mural.  By adding a phrase from the novel The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, she created a unique and fun representation for her fellow classmates.

Nichole, daughter of Jody Ferestad and Mike & Michelle Ferestad, has big plans for the summer months, before heading to MSU Bozeman for college in the fall.  She has plans to visit Hawaii, California, Utah, and various spots in Montana for everything from church trips, music, and camp counseling.  Her church mission trips have added up the air miles since she was in the 7th grade – traveling to places like Denver, Indiana, Seattle, and even Belize in Central America.

As a Billings native, Nichole loves the outdoors, fishing, and hunting.  “I take a lot of pride in being a Montanan,” she says.  And she takes a lot of pride in being a Golden Bear too. She hopes her painting will remind her classmates “to never forget who we are and to stay true to ourselves no matter where life takes us.”


War of the Walls