Color splash: Art students paint their mark on Slauson walls

SLIDE SHOWS: Below, view finished student murals; at the bottom of the story, see a slide show of the murals in progress.

From AAPSNews Service

Wander the hallways of Slauson Middle School and, around every corner, there is a colorful surprise.

A total of 94 student-created murals of every shape and size can be found on every floor, from the 2003 mural of ocean, treetops and creatures that fills one stairwell from top to bottom, to the diminutive dinosaur that one eighth-grader is working on in the waning weeks of the school year.

A Slauson art student works on her colorful design just outside the school's gymnasium.

Thirty-two eighth-graders in Tim Eiseman’s “Art and the Environment” class and some of his independent study art students design their murals and Eiseman picks a wall area for them to transfer their creativity onto. In these final weeks of school, student murals are well on their way to completion.

The murals are a project that has taken place each year for eighth-grade art students, Eiseman said. He said he lets them decide whether to work in a team or individually. This year, students are creating 17 new school murals at Slauson.

The murals are even taken into account when the school walls are painted for routine school maintenance, and the best ones are kept. “They get to leave a little bit of something behind,” Eiseman said. “This is their reward for doing a good job here.”

On an upper floor, Thad is creating the Master Chief from the Xbox game “Halo.” “I’ve always been known to doodle in math class,” said the eighth-grader, adding that he got his artistic talent from his grandma. “I’ve done my own comic books.

“It’s cool to see what other artists do. It’s a fun thing too – for us to leave our mark on the school. It’s a real opportunity.”

Down a hallway near the gymnasium, Jennifer is working on her unique design entitled “Who Let the Bears Out?’ a take-off on the school’s mascot and colors. She said she wanted to be in or near the gym, so that a lot of people passing by would see it. “I just wanted to do something totally different,” she said.

“Art is my love,” she added. “Every moment of every day I’m doing something. Ever since I was little, I’ve loved working with paints.”

A team of four students – Sofia, Samantha, Katie and Maddie – is creating a mural of five hands representing “peace among the five races of the Earth.” Samantha came up with the idea and Sofia sketched it. All four took part in the painting.

Eiseman said he allows the students flexibility and trust, since they are working at various points around the building and the class is spread out.

And, he encourages creativity.

“I try to take the kids, even if they see something they like, to change it and make it their own,” he said.

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