Leaving a mark


Sept. 22, 2023, 8:01 a.m. | By Tejusvi Vijay | 9 months ago

The evolution of Blair's murals from 2012 to now


Every day, thousands of students, staff, and visitors walk through the hallways and staircases of Blair, each leaving a small imprint of who they are. Every year, seniors leave the building hoping that they made a mark during their time at Blair. And while many envision this legacy to be abstract, some student groups have taken this quite literally. This is what the Blair Mural Club does. Let’s take a deep dive into the evolution of murals across Blair.

Origins

The mural scene at Blair was kickstarted in 2012 when science teacher Megan Hart and former Blair studio art teacher Amanda Wall wanted to work with students to create a STEM-focused mural. Hart describes it as a collaboration between students in her STEM classes and clubs working with students in Wall’s art classes. “I think it was really great because it was very collaborative. Like we had magnet students, we had non magnet students, we had CAP students, and everyone in between. And we also had students of varying artistic level to like it was all range of STEM level and artistic level,” Hart says.

At the start of the mural process, Hart recounts having 10 to 15 students working on a mural at a time. Students would come to meetings with ideas for science-themed murals and work with club leaders to integrate these into a final plan to present to administration. From there, the painting process could then take anywhere from a few weeks to a full school year to complete.

STEM Murals

The first set of murals completed by the mural club covered topics such as physics, biology, marine biology, and chemistry. Of the bunch, the physics mural located in the 210s is one of the largest. Notable physicists like Albert Einstein look over the rollercoaster demonstrating the concept of potential versus kinetic energy. Formulas and equations are doodled across the piece along with easter eggs like the inclusion of physics teacher James Schafer’s dog, Tonka, in the corner.

The Physics mural in the 210s hallway features a number of hidden, Physics-related details. Photo courtesy of Hannah Hekhuis.

Blair Mural Project

As more murals were created, more student groups became involved in the effort. The Blair Mural Project, a club sponsored by science teacher Summer Roark, started in 2018 and has worked closely with different departments across Blair. 

For example, the club partnered with English teachers Keith Anderson, Erica Rao, and Adam Clay during the 2018-19 school year to create the English department’s mural found in the 270s staircase. The mural features a small Blazer reading while a bookshelf in the background begins to tear through. The shelves feature literary classics and favorites of the club members such as The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson and Les Misérables by Victor Hugo.

The English department’s mural was painted during the 2018-19 school year and highlighted several literary classics. Photo courtesy of Hannah Hekhuis.

In the following school year, the club worked on designing a mural titled “Discovery” for the 370s hallway. The mural had a focus on technology and exploration conveyed through the inclusion of ships and Mars rover Curiosity. Unfortunately, the interrupted school year halted all plans to complete the mural. The mural is still unfinished with the blue backgrounds and pencil outlines of the original plan etched into the walls.

Current Mural Scene

While the mural scene at Blair had to be put on hold for over a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly bounced back during the 2022-23 school year with students in the National Art Honor Society and Blair Mural Club ready to paint.

The National Art Honor Society finished the 150s hallway mural early into 2023. The gradient of colors spiraling from the center contrasts with the surrounding plain walls. The inclusion of over twenty national flags shares a message about the importance of diversity within the Blair community.

The National Art Honor Society finished the mural along the 150s hallway during the 2022-23 school year. Photo courtesy of Tejusvi Vijay.

More recently, the Blair Mural Club has been working hard on a hip-hop themed mural in the center of the 250s hallway. Junior and Blair Mural Club leader Kindra Jones worked with hip-hop history and culture teacher Kenneth Smith to design the mural. The mural makes use of bold, primary colors and distinct shapes to help weave the new and old styles of hip-hop. “I just wanted something that would come to life when you walk past it,” Jones says.

The club expects to finish the mural and host an unveiling ceremony for the school by the end of the first quarter.

Looking Ahead

Joining the Blair Mural Club is a great opportunity for students to become involved in the Blair community. Junior and Blair Mural Club leader Daniel Romero enjoys having the opportunity to paint with friends and welcomes all Blazers to join. “We welcome anyone and everyone. Don’t be afraid to join, no talents are required,” he says.

So far, about a dozen murals cover Blair’s walls and share the stories, messages, and passions of Blazers. And while the murals have covered many major hallways around Blair, there are still more empty walls ready to be painted — walls for students to share their stories and leave their mark on the Blair community.

Last updated: Sept. 22, 2023, 8:35 a.m.


Tags: murals

Tejusvi Vijay. Hello! My name is Teju (she/her) and I'm a staff writer. Outside of SCO, I enjoy playing board games, watching Disney movies, and telling puns. More »

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