“My hope is that by donating murals to children’s facilities around the world, I can create a raised awareness on issues from education to poverty, while incorporating a new approach to art. This organization focuses on Art as therapy, as well as creating a positive environment for children and youth.”
~ Founder, Nichole Blackburn
About Us: Big Sky Countries is a non-profit organization founded in 2008 whose main focus is donating large-scale murals to children's facilities around the world. Since 2006, murals have been painted in Thailand, Ireland, the Philippines, Bolivia, New Orleans, Costa Rica, Atlanta, and all over the Los Angeles area. These children's facilities include elementary schools, orphanages, children's hospitals and youth centers. Murals range from 15 feet to 100 feet and just keep getting bigger!
Everything is Donated: Supplies, Paint, Sketches, Travel and Time are all donated...The facility just needs a large clean wall and a ladder!
In all of the murals, there is one thing in common: a sky. Each sky in each mural is one that artist and Big Sky Countries Founder, Nichole Blackburn had seen in the previous country she had visited. For example, the sky painted at the orphanage in the Philippines was a blue sky and clouds that Nichole had seen while painting in Ireland. And the sky in the Los Angeles donation mural is one that Nichole saw in New Orleans during sunrise. “Each mural is a true reminder to stay humble, appreciate what we have, and realize that no matter what country we come from, we are all under the same sky. " – Founder, Nichole Blackburn
Murals: At Big Sky Countries we take pride in our murals. Every project is treated as a masterpiece - Whether it’s a stark white wall in an orphanage therapy room, or a plain brick wall in an elementary school cafeteria…Big Sky Countries will make it a masterpiece! Each mural is custom designed for the space and carefully planned, incorporating "personal touches" and details that are unique to every facility. From ideas and research, to preliminary sketches, project execution and the final details, we work closely with each facility every step of the way.
Theme: Each facility gets it’s own theme for their mural. For example: “Barrio Fiesta” (Philippines), “Music and My Favorite Activities” (Thailand), “Blue Bayou and Playgrounds” (New Orleans), “My Safe Place” (Los Angeles) and even “Under the Sea” in Ireland. Extensive research goes into picking the “theme” for each mural, with themes honoring the flora, fauna, culture and people of the region.
Participation: Staff and children at each facility are highly encouraged to participate, giving their thoughts and ideas of what they’d like to see incorporated into the mural. In many of the murals, children drew pictures beforehand of their ideas, which were later incorporated into the final piece. For example, In the Los Angeles mural over 50 drawings and paintings from the youth at the facility were combined to make the large 40ft mural. In many of the murals, the children from the facilities have been painted right into the murals, as seen in Thailand, Bolivia and the Philippines. All children, faculty members, and well, everyone is encouraged to paint.
“ I love to get the children involved, letting them paint on the wall with me, giving informal art classes, and doing what I can to boost self-confidence and spirit at each facility.”
~ Founder, Nichole Blackburn
Big Sky Countries also donates scholarships, art supplies, art classes and other related materials to schools and children’s facilities around the world.