The summer session of Design your [Neighbor]hood (DYH) is now in full swing! This year, we’re working with students from the newly-reestablished Evergreen High School to create not one, but TWO murals in just four quick weeks!
This fall, the formerly autonomous Arts and Academics Academy (AAA), Technology, Engineering, and Communications School (TEC), and Health and Human Services High School (HS3), will join together to become Evergreen High School (EHS). In an effort to bolster school spirit and encourage campus unity, the DYH teens will be painting two murals outside the main entrance of EHS.
The teens decided that they want their mural to be unique, inspirational, and welcoming. Participant Kimberli explained, “This project is important because we can show what we want for our new community and environment, for people to visualize it. By us participating in this program, I believe that we are showing that we care for our future, and that we all are here to support each other and build on and make a stronger community.”
The theme for this first week of the DYH program is discovery. The teens explored the Evergreen campus to check out the existing murals and record their observations. Then they debated the strengths and weaknesses of each mural, and how that might inform their own project. The students also discussed what makes powerful imagery, drawing parallels between visual metaphors and figurative language.
The group thought AAA’s mural was highlighting creativity, by showing different types of arts.
The theme for TEC’s mural is individuality, which showcases the unity present within the school.
The teens identified the theme of HS3’s mural as diversity – celebrating everyone’s cultures.
Participant Mark described his first few days with DYH:
“We went to go see the three murals from the three different schools at Evergreen, and that made me realize how important art can be to someone, or how much it can impact someone. I never really focused on the murals as much as I did yesterday, and when the class analyzed it, it made it clearer to me why people do art. I feel like this program is going to give me a bunch of new experiences with art. Today we were discussing our ideas of what our mural should have, and we came up with three ideas: the first was to be unique, the second was to be inspirational, and the last was to be welcoming. My partner and I are focusing on an idea for creating a feeling of welcome because we think people need to feel that or see that when they walk around the Evergreen campus. A welcoming feeling should be the first priority for a school. Now we are designing ideas of what our mural should look like, and then later we are going to present it to the class to persuade them that our idea could be the one to be put up as a mural.”
The whole group is approaching the project with enthusiasm and earnestness. The students are, as Kimberli described, “looking forward to meeting new people, and hearing their ideas of what they want the mural to be, and getting started on it!”