Mural Club Shares a Glimpse of the Future

The school community got a glimpse of a new artistic addition to campus when Parker’s Mural Club shared more about a work in progress at the Visual Arts Morning Ex in February.

While the entire presentation aimed to showcase the visual arts offerings school-wide, Art teacher, Department Co-Chair and Mural Club sponsor Kay Silva used the gathering as a forum for 8th–12th grade Mural Club members to share more about the work they have been immersed in since the fall semester.

Silva created Parker’s Mural Club in October with the intention of bringing student artists together to express their voices through beautiful and meaningful public murals. Early in the process, she and student club members met with Moroccan muralists Tima and Bakr, who were visiting Chicago as guest artists with the Sister Cities International program. Students shared some of their early sketches and brainstormed ideas for their mural with these seasoned muralists, who provided professional perspective and input.

Club members—each of whom has contributed a minimum of 10 hours to the project to date—then spoke in more detail about various aspects of the project.

One student noted that women’s rights were being challenged around the world when they were brainstorming on a theme. Rejecting a protest theme, the artists focused their energies on ideas celebrating women, the creative power of women, Mother Earth and love of the natural world. Another student shared how their generative process arrived at making the symbol of the goddess Gaia with African features to reference the continent as the cradle of humanity.

Once the artists decided on a final theme, visiting artists helped them create a collage of student drawings in Photoshop to solidify the mural’s visual image. Students then selected a location in one of the school’s stairwells to hang their finished piece and began color selection.

Next, they described the process of creating large format artwork, which involved projecting their original sketch onto three large wooden panels for ease of portability, installation and flexibility in painting—as they could be painted both upright and flat on tables. Beginning with the background and working in layers, student-artists have been gathering once a week to help brush their vision into reality. They work slowly, carefully and precisely to ensure they don’t disturb the background elements as they add flowers, fruit, insects and animals each week.

The Mural Club anticipates that they will complete and install the new mural this May, and Parker looks forward to its unveiling. Click here for some process photos of its development from throughout this year.

Parker thanks the students in Mural Club, Kay Silva, French teacher Lorin Pritikin, Principal Dan Frank and Sister Cities International for all their support for this project.
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.