Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Week 9-10: Our Mural is Finished

The 4 B's - 8' x 30' © 2010 Wakefield Muralists/ Michael B. Schwartz

Over the past several months students from Wakefield Middle School in Tucson Arizona created a service based mural for their school as part of their 6th period elective under the direction of teaching artist Michael B. Schwartz. What emerged is a beautiful 6’ x 30’ mural for all to see and enjoy in the 6th grade hallway. This project was initiated by Wakefield Middle School teacher Maricella Carranza with the assistance of principal Wade McRae. The theme, and title, of the mural is the 4 B’s; Be Safe, Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be a Learner. Students artists were Jasmin, Crystal, Monique, Ana Lizeth, Myranda, Ariana, Diana, Carlos, Francisco, Jesus, Gabriella, Mark, Rafael, Wenceslao, Daniel, David, Estrella, Sarahi, Yaritza, Brysenia and Jorge.

Each of the students developed a part of the mural, and then we worked to combine these images into a design we all liked. We see the three flags, Arizona, Mexico and United States behind A Mountain. Surrounding them are images of a heart and butterfly springing out of books. We also see an Azteca temple that descends to a truck that drops off students in front of the school, overseen by a teacher with arms stretched out holding a glass sphere that represents knowledge. She is pointing to another eye, symbolizing what we have yet to learn. We also see a computer with people shaking hands, representing using the computer to forge peace, and below we see a globe next to the Wakefield Knight, the school mascot.

This design had to be approved by a committee that we established before the project started.
The five panelists suggested some minor changes to the design. Once those changes were made we had to learn about scale and proportion. We used a grid to transfer our design. This was a new experience for students, but after several class lessons our design had been transferred. We worked in small groups, dividing the class up between people who worked in the classroom and the mural site. Students in the class worked in acrylics and watercolor, gravitating towards the media that best suited them. Only one or two of the students had worked in acrylics so this was a true exploration of mixing colors, mark making and learning how to create images with this new media. As you can see from these sample paintings students had a great time, and each developed their own personal creative statement.

Throughout this project we had to work as a team. Some clear leaders emerged in this project, and almost all the students had something they could teach to others. “Where were you last year” one student excitedly asked their teaching artist. For a variety of reasons many of these students had not had an art class in many years, and they were thirsty to learn new techniques, about the history of murals and to participate in such a large project.

At the end of the year we had a pizza party and talked about the project. Almost everyone wanted to do another mural, and to see more murals in the community and their neighborhoods. Each student carefully preserved their work in their portfolios and received a drawing journal so they could practice what they learned over the summer. As Crystal said “this mural is going to make people feel better about our school and show the neighborhood we are not such trouble makers. Next year we want to do a mural with Mr. Schwartz in our lunch room.”

This project was made possible with support from the Tucson Pima Arts Council Arts in Education program, the Tucson Arts Brigade and A Whole Lot of People for Grijalva. We thank them for their ongoing support and commitment to arts education and the youth of our community.

Watercolor by Gabriela

View of Mural from the other side.

Reporting Live From Wakefield/ Reporte en Vivo Desde Wakefield

The Wakefield Muralists Spring 2010

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Week 7-8: Thoughts on our Mural Program

Our mural - almost finished!

As you can tell we've been working on our mural. In the classroom we have been learning about grid, scale and proportion, painting techniques and basic color theory. All these lessons are essential building blocks for creating a mural.

Here are some quotes from students:

" What I most want people to remember about the mural is that I'm proud of my art and hard work" - Gabriela

"The thing I like most about this program is tat my classmates and I are able to do this mural by ourselves. I want people to remember it was done by middle school students." - Myranda

"In this program we painted, drew, learned how to draw faces, hands, flowers and create value. We also learned about colors like primary and secondary color. What I like most about this program is learning how to paint and draw."

"I joined the mural program because it's fun, cool and we make drawings and paintings and we are doing something other people can see. I think the mural is important because it's represents something good about our school." - Ana Lizeth

"I think it's important to have murals because it helps people build relationships. I can share what I've learned with others and it will help me in expressing my feelings with paintings because pictures speak louder than words." - Jorge

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Weeks 5-6: Painting with the Wakefield Muralists

Work on our mural is rolling along. The design has been transferred to the wall, adjustments and changes have been made to the drawaing part of the process. Next we painted the lines of everything in the mural before stating to add colors to each value shape. (Value shapes are areas of solid color with the lightness or darkness adjusted to describe your subject. So we know value means gradations of light and dark, value shapes are shapes of light and dark colors.)

Since we have so many people painting we pre-mixed the colors and created a color chart that could be used in assigning colors. We also mixed up some new colors on the spot.

Once the value shapes have been painted in we go back and work on adjusting colors, descriptive surface textures, directional lighting and values.

It takes allot of team work to get to every part of the mural.

Back in the classroom we worked on expressive painting and getting used to working with acrylics. A huge part of this is learning to control the paint, staying clean and learning about the differences between painting and drawing. Acrylics are very different from watercolors and require more hands on time. Everyone really took to the open painting, with several students filing their portfolios with colorful expressions.

"What I like most in the program is that we are all working as a group."
- Jorge T.

Students color in their value shapes.

This is what our mural looked like at the end of week 6.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Transfer of Our Design

Here is a pictorial essay of the progress on our mural.

Next, measure a grid ...

...and then we transfer our design to the wall.

It takes concentration to get all the details.

Meanwhile we are also learning about value, and getting used to working with acrylic paint.

Here is part of the wall with the design, next we paint!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mural Poems About Our School Community

By Mark M

White and blue

You know

It’s school.

Fun Sunny Days.

Life is great.


Fly and no flies.

By Yomira B.

Books are

Good resources

For reading

Also in a book

You can find

A lot of




The Cars

by Carlos G.

Cars remind me

of school allot.

My mom always drops me off at

The parking lot.

When I play tops there’s always

Cops. When I get in trouble

I can make a fround, but then

I look around.

Los Libros

By  Sarah R.

When I think of my school I think of learning, because I love writing.

I thought a book with a pencil would have been a good idea.

When I see it with the other drawings it would look nice.


Transferring Our Ideas to the Mural Design


By Jasmine A

Recycling makes the world more clean, and it makes the grass and trees more green. You can recycle glass and cans, but it’s hard work so you’ll need a fan. You could give your old to a charity shop if they don’t fit you anymore. Kids or adults can recycle, oh yes you can recycle your old bicycle.

Earth Needs Peace

By Adriana C.

In my home sweet home.

You head bombs and gun’s

War has begun by now

You look or come from

Thousands of people die because

Earth has no peace.

Earth needs peace for us

To be friends with everyone.



By Myranda

Peace is about equality

Peace represents harmony,

Peace also represents respect

Peace can be allot of different things.


Reading a Book

By Diana

Reading a book is fun.

It’s helpful for everyone.

You can learn by reading

A book.

You can study with it.


Mexican Flag

By Rafael

The Mexican flag is cool

Americans say it’s a fool

I say the Mexican Flag rocks

They say it sucks,

Then I call all Mexicans

To make friends up.

Love poems

By AnaLizeth

I love my friend she

Went away from me

There is nothing more to

Say my love poem ends

Soft as it began I love

My friend.


My School

By Crystal

The sky is pretty,

The starts are bright,

I love the world

and also night.

My friends and I have fun

All day at school.


 Priming Our Wall

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Beautiful Collage Works by Student Artists

These beautiful collages were created by the Wakefield Muralists as part of our design process, and lessons on the basic elements of design.

These basic elements include:

- Balance
- Repetition
- Unity and Variety
- Contrast
- Movement
- Emphasis
- Scale (proportion)
- Harmony
By Crystal

By Carlos

By Ariana

By Ana B.

By Diana

By Mark

By Jesus

By Jasmin

By Gabriella

By Myranda

By Rafael

Lots more to come!