A large "Love and Respect" mural was installed by the Bitterroot College Art Cooperative in the Bitterroot College on Wednesday. The public is invited to see it and enjoy an art show and preview celebrations of Easter and Cinco de Mayo, April 17 and 18.

The mural is built with nearly 100 12-inch by 12-inch stretched canvasses were painted by students, faculty, community members and organizations including SAFE and Ravalli County Head Start.

“They are the ones who most need ‘Love and Respect,’” said mural organizer Kim Delvo. “There are all different ages from 2 to 82 years old. Everyone has a different idea of what love and respect means and sometimes we forget how important it is to have love and respect for each other.”

Delvo, Savannah Bickish, Kathleen O’Leary (faculty advisor), Michael Johnson, Steven Christensen and Rosie Carter were students, staff and members of the Bitterroot College Art Cooperative helping with the art installation.

Bitterroot College student Rosie Carter painted her canvas with the blue and green earth on it.

Savannah Bickish painted her canvas with three crosses.

“I am a Christian and that is what love and respect means to me,” she said. “Jesus died on the cross for our sins and so to me that was the ultimate sign of love — it is God’s love for us as humans.”

She said that part of being a Christian is sharing God’s love with others.

“I wanted to send that message and let people know God is love,” Bickish said.

O’Leary’s mom painted the square on the bottom, with the butterfly, and her granddaughter’s square is the one of the ocean sunset about balance.

Steven Christensen described his as “green and emerald blue and people protecting each other.”

Next week, the Bitterroot College’s preview celebrations for Easter and Cinco de Mayo will include an art exhibit. The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. but the best time to come is 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, because there will be food and music to match the holidays.

The BCAC will also unveil a collaborative mural done by artist Steve Wilson and his students, plus artwork by BC students and staff.

“Geography instructor, George Furniss, of course did a painting with plate tectonics, ground water and geography,” O’Leary said. “It really scared me because I didn’t realize how close we are to Yellowstone.”

The Bitterroot College Art Cooperative art show and preview celebrations of Easter and Cinco de Mayo, April 17 and 18, is free and the public is invited.

The Bitterroot College Art Cooperative has been accepted as a formal student group by the Associated Students of the University of Montana and received a $950 grant for this art project and community event.