Making School Beautiful

Serene Tarabishi

More stories from Serene Tarabishi

A recently painted mural decorates the window of a counseling office, painted by a volunteer student artist.

Serene Tarabishi

A recently painted mural decorates the window of a counseling office, painted by a volunteer student artist.

   As time has passed in SHS, students have slowly begun to see new pieces of art pop up in various glass windows, in their halls, and in art room walls. 

   For years the idea of painting classroom walls has been championed by the various art rooms around the school. When you step inside one of these creative rooms, you are greeted by beautifully bright colors and intricate or even non-existent designs. The lasting imprints of students of the past, staying on in the fun and intriguing patterns painted on the brick walls. 

   As these wonderful creations have found a home in art classes, so have new and recent installations schoolwide. For example, many students have pointed out and complimented the painted designs in counseling room windows, and the paint marker quotes on the office windows. 

   The question many artists are still asking, however, is why don’t we have more? To this question, student artists in other high schools have made several attempts to spread their creative paintings in other less desirable places. 

   For example, the bathroom. 

   While some restrooms in schools may be pretty decent, and some even newly renovated, most remain in morbid condition. Whether due to pencil and marker graffiti, the drab white and grays of the stalls, or the rude messages on the walls, the bathrooms have never been a particularly wonderful place to be. 

   However, artists have decided that they can change that. 

   Western Hills High School is known for a predominantly art-centric curriculum and has participated in the bathroom painting activity, largely to very positive results. Students were incredibly enthusiastic about beautifying their own school by hand, describing their learning curve as they learned how to paint on such large surfaces. 

   Art teacher Cheri Smith of West Hills High school commented on the student enthusiasm, saying “The ownership, it is so unbelievable. The students are so excited to see that, I did that. My brushstroke there. I was part of it”

   The school bathroom paintings were not only an art project for the creators but a source of pride and inspiration for students in the school. Many murals depict local historical figures, nearby college teams, and high ranking colleges to motivate kids to look beyond their high school walls; literally.  

   In our own SHS, our school has taken steps to encourage creativity, with art teachers heading projects to paint in counseling windows or write inspirational quotes and designs on the office windows. Other schools around the district also encourage this, with many large quotes and murals painted within the Junior High School walls. 

   Now, why are these art pieces relevant, you may ask?  Well, many students and teachers consider them wonderful additions to the creative space school is meant to be. 

   Renata Dashevsky, a 10th grade artist said “Art, and especially color gives people something to look at and can brighten someone’s day. The little things, you know.”

   Researchers from San Diego State University and College of William and Mary even found that “The aesthetic features of a school can foster a strong sense of belonging that, in turn, can generate an enthusiasm for learning. The overall impression of the learning environment is a reflection of the personality of a place.”

   Murals brighten up drab spaces and can hopefully revive deadened spaces in schools nationwide. With some inspiring art teachers and some creative students, schools can transform into bright and colorful spaces instead of drab gray and white concrete walls. 

   Taking the initiative to make our schools more creative is a project every school should undertake, no matter how small or how big, and wherever they choose to decorate. Our schools can only become more creative, and we should be proud to work with our own teachers to show our artistic Aviator pride in our own halls.