West High mural spotlights artistic talents
by Glenn Moore
May 31, 2013 | 2310 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New mural at West High
West High School senior Ashley Arata (left) and junior Hunter Lew were among a group of 19 students who created a sports mural in a hallway at the school. Alex Nelson’s two advanced art classes spent four weeks designing and painting the mural.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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West High art students traded pen and paper for a larger canvas as they tackled the task of creating a mural for the athletic department.

The 9-foot-by-44-foot mural was painted by 19 students in two of Alex Nelson’s advanced art classes in a hallway on campus, 1775 W. Lowell Ave.

The students spent four weeks, including two Saturdays, designing and creating the mural — the largest indoor painting on campus — in a hallway near the athletic director’s office.

The mural was completed near the end of April.

The idea came from Principal Troy Brown, who commissioned the art students to brighten one of the high school’s drab interior walls.

“We have lots of talented kids — why not use that talent and give them some real experience,” Brown said.

Nelson said all of the students sketched proposals for the mural that would incorporate all of the sports teams on campus.

Senior Zia Abraham sifted through the submissions and drew a final design to send to the school administration for approval.

The finished mural shows athletes in various sports scattered across the wall around a central wolf head, with “West High athletics” written above.

Nelson, who called the logistics of the project “pretty crazy,” said everyone learned a lot by working on the mural.

“The larger scale is great — we can’t do it in a classroom,” Nelson said. “Everyone had to work and think outside the box.”

Students drew a grid across the hallway and penciled in the design.

Cones and caution tape kept them out of the way of students heading to physical education classes as they filled in the images with acrylic paint.

“Our mark will be on the campus forever,” Abraham said. “Each different year will have their own mark, and our class started it.”

The senior, whose favorite medium is graphite pencil, said creating the mural was a challenge, as most of the students had never painted on such a large scale.

“Acrylics were never my strong point, but it was fun working with it,” she said. “It was hard to work on such a big working space because of the proportions — they are so much bigger than paper.”

Junior Hunter Lew was among the two classes of advanced art students who added their touch to the mural.

“I thought it was cool to paint it with the other class,” Lew said. “I like to paint, and I did a little bit of everything — painted the cheerleaders and helped touch things up.”

Senior Jordan Campos, a contributor to the mural project, was happy with the result.

“It was huge. I didn’t think it was going to come out looking that well,” she said. “All the areas came out looking good.”

• Contact Glenn Moore at 830-4252 or gmoore@tracypress.com.
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