Mural honoring Steve Orloff celebrated in Siskiyou County
A mural depicting a UC Cooperative Extension advisor talking with a farmer beside a crop field and stream, surrounded by cattle, potatoes and a 4-H member showing a prize-winning sheep, against the backdrop of the Siskiyou Mountains was dedicated Oct. 13, 2018, to Siskiyou County agriculture and the memory of Steve Orloff.
Orloff's Family, friends, clientele and colleagues gathered to remember and honor Orloff, who passed away Oct. 3, 2017, after serving 33 years as a UCCE advisor, the last 25 years of his career in Siskiyou County.
“It is a testament to the power of Steve's work and ANR impact in local communities,” said Glenn Nader, emeritus livestock and natural resources advisor. Local farmers and ranchers funded the Steve Orloff mural, which is painted on the south wall facing the parking area of the UC Cooperative Extension office in Yreka, making it visible to I-5 travelers.
“Many members of the community and Steve's family were on hand to celebrate the efforts of the community to create a tribute to the work done by Steve Orloff,” said Jacki Zediker, 4-H community education specialist and coordinator in Siskiyou County.
“Sari and Steve began discussing the mural idea about a year or more before his passing, based on Sari noticing our exterior walls were very bland and could use some sprucing up,” said Carissa Koopmann Rivers, director of UC Cooperative Extension in Siskiyou County.
At the time, Orloff told Sommarstrom, “I can envision artwork with large cows and ranching depicted on one side transitioning to agricultural fields and mountains on the other side. It would be a great tribute to ag in the county.”
Following Orloff's passing, Sommarstrom followed up on the mural design, fundraising and execution. She partnered with the local Farm Bureau to assist with the financial backing of the project. The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors approved the mural in April 2018, with the county contributing the first $2,000, kicking off the fundraising campaign and allowing the painting to begin in September.
“The mural would not have come to fruition without efforts from within the entire community, and the enthusiasm of artist Kim Solga,” said Rivers. “It is important to recognize one particular person, Jacki Zediker, who was at the forefront of the project ensuring the mural exemplified the Siskiyou County agriculture and the vision that Steve had. Jacki not only worked diligently behind the scenes to cross t's and dot i's, she was also physically responsible for all the wall prep work and finishing coat on the wall, as well as organizing the official revealing unveiling of the mural on October 13, 2018.”
The mural is located at 1655 South Main St. in Yreka.