Project: Lafayette’s Stanley Middle School-1996
Medium: Acrylics on Masonite Panels
Dimensions: 6’ x 55’
Location: 3455 School St, Lafayette, CA
I've always enjoyed working alongside young people, creating art together. When I got the chance to work with 7th grade students at Stanley Middle School, there was a large discussion about what types of subject matter would be appropriate for the auditorium.
In most high schools, the auditorium is a multi-purpose room, where students can play basketball, eat, study, or just relax, and this one was no different. There were a few designs under consideration, and in the end they decided on a theme illustrating the contrasting cultures of each continent, the subtext being inclusion, and learning lessons from history.
The faculty wanted to make sure that each of the 300 students got to make a real contribution to the wall, spending significant time on it. In the end, every member of that class did spend at least a couple of hours working on the scaffold. My format of choice was to give them a brief orientation about the colors, brushes, and subject matter, then climb up and do some work.
One of my fonder memories was trying to figure out how we were going to get one of the students, who was in a wheelchair, up onto the scaffolding. There was a realization that one of the panels could be taken down from the wall, and we could paint it on the ground level. After the session with the differently abled student, the panel was reinstalled, and the paint matched perfectly.
The whole mural was completed in 6-7 weeks. It was carefully taken down when the auditorium was updated and reinstalled on one of the long walls.